Nazik al-Malaika – Who am I ?

Malaika LE Arab Women P&W April 2024

Download PDF Here

Live Encounters Arab Women Poets & Writers April 2024.

Who am I?,  poem by Nazik al-Malaika.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda. 

Who am I?

The night asks who am I?
I am his secret, deep, black anxiety
I am its rebellious silence
I content myself with silence
And I wrapped my heart with suspicions
And I remained solemn here
Gazing, while the ages ask me
Who am I?
And the wind asks who am I?
I am its confused soul, denied by time
I am in nowhere like it
We keep walking and there is no end
We keep passing and there is no survival
If we reach the curve
We thought it was the end of misery
Then there was void!
And eternity asks who am I
I, like it, am a giant embracing ages
And I return and grant them resurrection
I create the distant past
From the temptation of the pleasant hope
And I will return to bury it again
To create for myself a new yesterday
Whose tomorrow is ice
And the self asks who am I?
I am like it, confused, staring into the darkness
Nothing gives me peace
I keep asking and the answer
Will remain veiled by mirage
And I will keep thinking it has come close
But when I reach it, it has dissolved
Died and disappeared.

© Nazik al-Malaika

Nazik al-Malaika (1923-2007) is an Iraqi poet, critic and academic who taught in many schools and universities in Iraq. She published several poetry collections and was best known for her role as a pioneer of the free verse movement, making a sharp departure from the classical rhyme form that had dominated Arabic poetry for centuries.

Translation by Dr. Salwa Gouda, an Egyptian literary translator, critic, and academic at the English Language and Literature Department at Ain-Shams University. She holds a PhD in English literature and criticism. She received her education at Ain-Shams University and California State University in San Bernardino. She has published several academic books, including “Lectures in English Poetry, and “Introduction to Modern Literary Criticism” and others. She has also contributed to the translation of “The Arab Encyclopedia for Pioneers,” which includes poets and their poetry, philosophers, historians, and men of letters, under the supervision of UNESCO. Additionally, her poetry translations have been published in various international magazines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.