Abdul Rahman Maqlad – Maria

Maqlad LE P&W July 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing July 2024

Maria, poem by Abdul Rahman Maqlad.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda.


What if, Maria,
You were the ruler of this universe
You chose “the doll” as the commander
And “the fish” in charge of the navy forces
And “the puppeteers” the head of the guard
And “the frog” as the war marshal
What if you gave the soldiers bead rifles
And we played cosmic games
Here in the room
And led the battle
We threw towards the enemies
Gum grenades
And water bullets
And we pushed “the duck” to the front line
And the paper plane flock fell
What if the enemies surrendered
And gave up
And we fell when they returned the ball
We held our breath
And laughed quietly
So they could celebrate the victory
And the constant sadness
In your father’s heart would break.

If you were the ruler of the universe
And called out the poets from the window
So we could all join in the celebration
And the room filled with song
For instance
We would hear Al-Mutanabbi’s
Verses of praise in your eyes
And Rimbaud would bless
Your joyful vessel
Baudelaire would comfort us with
A different bouquet of flowers
What if, my sweet girl
This happiness never ended
And I stayed strong and healthy
Inside the house
For the days to come
I didn’t step out to face harsh glances
Nor the rushing carriages
What if the room became my entire world
And I waited for death for the longest time
Just to keep watching you
And play with the strands of your yellow hair
I run like a cat
Imitate the sounds of the rooster
I hug your doll
And complain to her
And lament
And set a trap
I fall like a disappointed hunter in it
And never learn each time.

© Abdul Rahman Maqlad

Abdul Rahman Maqlad (1986) is an Egyptian poet and journalist. He published five poetry collections. Moreover, he won several poetry awards, most notably the State Award in Poetry. He also participated in poetry events in Egypt and abroad.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda. She is 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.

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