Parween Habib – To my father

Habib LE Arab Women P&W April 2024

Download PDF Here

Live Encounters Arab Women Poets & Writers April 2024.

To my father,  poems by Parween Habib.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda. 

To my father

What is the benefit of all the medals that you carry?
And you are disturbed by your daughter’s tired dreams
You fight for the freedom of the people
And my freedom is prisoned in your hands
I say – if I hear you
Take pride in military honor and honesty –
What a lie!
I condemn your submission to rulers by the command of God
You offer a daughter as a sacrifice for their obedience
How much you hurt her feelings; you became her executioner
O my father whom the city blessed
I thought you were a wall that repels gossiping wolves from me
And pierces the eye of voyeurism
When it chases my sad soul
But your silence burned away the similarities between us
You demand that I do not say, so that you can tell
But if you bust my window
Then you closed the door to my letters
I will burn all my longing for you
I turn my back on the custom of the tribe
And I go on… and cry

To my son

It is true that I am a rogue woman
Who left her child to the mirage
To suckle from the breast of this great void
The night sings to him as a lullaby to sleep
Then he falls asleep, and sorrow awakens in my dream
And I hear my heart – I am the woman in love –
He calls you “Kami”
I extend my hands to the dream
To touch your hair, your cheek, your face
A terrifying scream rises
He calls for the thief’s hand to be cut off!
It is true that I ran away
Was I able to hold the child in my hands
And I leave my freedom with them
I did not ignore you, but these are the desires of the tribe
The only thing that extinguished the embers of brutality within them
Was to see me killed
I do not blame you if you say one day
That I loosened the braid in my beloved’s arms
And I betrayed… and I and I…
I do not blame you
But despite what has been said or will be said
Remember that I am your mother!

To my husband

It is not your fault if they handed me over to you as a young girl
Or have women surrounded me with their jealousy
And revealed my secret before the family
And I did not care, I knew that their mornings
Are servitude and submission
And in the evening, the night’s hem embroiders jealousy
I have not passed, except through lean years, the madness of childhood
And I did not know
That I will be given as a gift on a plate blessed by the tribe
To a man twice my age
It is not your fault
Because I never said I love you
And I did not sleep awake waiting for you
And the longing was not intoxicated when my perfume spoke to it
And how can my snow melt, and I do not know the heat of your fire
It is not my fault if the soul is a bird
That rejects life in your dwelling pond
It spreads its wings to the wind
I do not care if one day you say something that is not permissible
And you told them that I am unfaithful.

© Parween Habib

Parween Habib is a poet, academic researcher, and media expert. In 2011, she won the Dynamic Women Award at the continental level from George Washington University in the USA. Thus, obtaining the first international award granted to successful women around the world with inspiring experiences. She also won national and international awards in different fields, including media, poetry and other cultural activities. She is the author of four critical books, three poetry collections, and two children’s books. Her poetry has been translated into seven languages. In addition, she holds a master’s degree with distinction in Literary Criticism from Ain Shams University, Cairo. She also holds a Ph.D. with distinction in Literary Criticism, through a study of the language of women’s poetry in the Gulf from 1975 to 2004, from the Arab League University, Egypt. Through her talk show program on Dubai TV, she interviewed nearly 500 Arab novelists, poets, and thinkers.

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.