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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 5.00 (1 Vote)

by Abboud al Jabiri


I want to change everything:
the crippled chair
and the rug lolling its tongue across the tiles.
I want to change the rug
because it stretches its tongue across the tiles
and the chair
because it is crippled.
I will try,


I said,
I have my reasons -
and you can wait
to see how the house turns out
when that chair has gone
and the rug, crawling in the dust,
has deserted the tiles.
I will try,
I said,
but I don't know
if that chair
would wear sackcloth and ashes
and plead with me
to stay.
And I don't know if the rug will ever stop
bothering the cracks -
so I must find a wise man to guide me
because I want to change everything
I want to kick out this routine
and free my hands to do my will.
I must rearrange everything
and all my possessions
are nothing but poems waiting to be read -
a crippled chair
and a joke of a rug.

The literal translation of this poem was made by Worod Musawi
The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop

Biograpy:
The Iraqi poet and translator, Abboud al Jabiri was born in Najaf in 1963. A member of the Iraqi Writers' Union and the Arab Writers' Union, he was one of the founders of the Iraqi Youth Literature forum.
His two poetry collections are Index of Faults (2007) and Lean on his Blindness (2009).
Since 1993, he has lived and worked in Amman, in Jordan.

Additional Note:
This was the third poetry translation workshop devoted to the poetry of Abboud al Jabiri and, as with the others, it was a real pleasure to bring his poems into English. His poetry, unlike a good deal of poetry in Arabic, translates well into English. This is because it is relatively simple, relying on concrete imagery and eschewing complex metaphors.
As you will see, if you compare our final version with the literal translation prepared by Worod Musawi, we have stuck quite closely to her text.

However, there was one image towards the end of the poem, which Worod translates as 'to free my fingers / From the rubber tree who planted above the sky' which, however much we tried, we couldn't make sense of and convert into good English - so we abandoned it as we felt it would have distorted our version. Sometimes translators have to make tough decisions!

Courtesy of: www.poetrytranslation.org

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