World Poetry Proudly Presents Syrian Canadian Ghada Alatrash!

Featured Poet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ariadne writes: we want to welcome a new World Poetry Member, the talented translator and poet Ghada Alatrash!  Her poem “The Art Teacher” made such an impression on me that whenever I saw a pomegranate , I wanted to buy it and look for its mystery.

 

So That the Poem Remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So That the Poem Remains: Arabic Poems by Lebanese-American Youssef Abdul Samad, Selected and Translated by Ghada Alatrash. 

“Through my translation, I am attempting to build bridges between East and to fill in the gap of the almost total absence of an Arab cultural or literal position in the West.

Here is a note from the back cover of my book: Daughter of former Syrian Ambassador Jabr Al-Atrash, GHADA ALATRASH immigrated with her family from Syria to the United States in 1986. She holds a Master of Arts in English from University of Oklahoma, USA. She is an op/ed columnist for Gulf News, UAE, and was previously op/ed columnist for the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. She taught English at Abu Dhabi Women’s College, UAE, and was an Adjunct Lecturer of Arabic at University of Oklahoma. She has served as a board member for the Multicultural Advisory Board of British Columbia, Canada. She is a member of the New Pen League, New York. She currently resides in BC, Canada.

…Like a rose in a poem, you do not wither; recited a thousand times, it always remains new. If Earth were to return to water, to water we would also return, and the poem remains. – Youssef Abdul Samad

And it is so that the poem remains, so that the young can better understand the old, and so that there is universal harmony and connectedness between East and West, I present my readers with this work of translation.” Ghada Alatrash

“The Art Teacher”

Once, my art teacher said to me:
“Draw the moon for us;”
and I replied,
“But I do not trust
the moody moon.”

So I began to draw grapes
then I plucked them,
puzzled by those who say,
“a bunch of grapes
taste like watered wine!”

I sketched a turtle;
I pencilled in a rabbit;
and I drew a beautiful bird
with feathers colored
like the pupil of an eye.

Furious, my teacher demanded:
“Draw the moon for us!”
But instead
a pomegranate appeared,
glittering like the sun.

Outraged, she yelled,
“You failed!”
…O how I long
for a pomegranate
to fall from a branch of our tree!

I thought for long
about her
—my teacher—
on whose breasts
the basil camped.

For I,
I worship pomegranate trees,
under whose shade
I used to sleep
as I felt restless.

While I plucked them,
their fire burned me,
and the burn-scars
still remain
after the years.

Once,
I drew a lemon tree
on a piece of paper,
and from its radiance,
the leaves almost budded.

I drew two pomegranates of fire,
and I tasted them—
You who dwell in fire,
believe it when they say
that fire can be such delight.

I still call to mind
their nudity
and I muse over them.
For, …
a harvester is lustful.

How is it
that pomegranate seasons
never come to an end,
nor does their
overflowing blood ever burst?

How is it
that they do not gush
while we eat them?
And how is it that
we do not see their fire as they burn?

I confess
that it was I
who plucked that harvest
and bashfully kept it secret,
but steal it, I did not!

Ghada Alatrash (C)
meaningwithinwords.com

 

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