25 April 2012

Four Sisters from Zakaria by Ghassan Zaqtan

Continuing Poetry in Translation Week, here is a poem by Palestinian Poet Ghassan Zaqtan. He was supposed to give a reading at Poets House a few weeks ago, as part of his US tour to promote a new book of English translations of his work, but could not get a visa. We went ahead with the program, with his translator poet and doctor Fady Joudah reading and translating some of the work featured on a recent YouTube video Zaqtan made once it became evident that he would not be traveling to the U.S.
Ghassan Zaqtan

Joudah also talks about talks about translating him here.

You can hear this and another poem in both English and Arabic here at the PBS website. PBS'  video of him reading is here.

* Zakaria and Artouf are two Palestinian villages in the Khalil (Hebron) area whose occupants were forced to leave in 1948.

Four sisters from Zakaria
Four sisters 
climb the hill alone 
in black clothes. 
Four sisters sigh 
facing the thicket. 
Four sisters in the dark 
read wet letters. 
A train coming 
from Artouf passed 
behind the picture. 
A horse carrying 
a girl from Zakaria
neighs on the ridge 
across the plain. 
In the gorge 
clouds slowly pass. 
Four sisters 
from Zakaria, alone 
in black clothes 
on the hill.

Four sisters from Zakariyya
Four sisters climb the mountain
in black clothes. 

Four sisters sigh in front of the grove.

Four sisters in the dark 
reading soaked letters.

There was a train
behind the photo passing from Artouf.
There was a horse
carrying a girl from Zakariyya
whinnying in the slope behind the plains. 

And the clouds were slowly passing
through the canyon.

Four sisters from Zakariyya
by the hill
in black clothes.


John K said...

Ah señor, thanks so much for this and the prior post on Olav Hauge. I remember the note about him not being able to get a visa, and that Joudah would read and translate some of his work, but I'm glad you highlighted him.

online diploma said...

Hello i want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and include almost all significant info. I would like to see more posts like this .