Nizar Qabbani: "Less Beautiful" (From Arabic)

Completely revised this translation as a result of my encounter with Stephen Frug's take on my original attempt

Less Beautiful
By Nizar Qabbani
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click here to hear me recite the Arabic

Whenever I see you, I despair of my verse.
I only despair of my poems
When I am with you.
Beautiful you are...so much
So that when I think about what awe you strike... I gasp for breath.
As my language gasps
And my lexicon gasps
For breath.
Deliver me from these problematics!
Be less beautiful
So I can recover my poetics.
Be a typical woman
Of kohl, perfume, pregnancy and childbirth.
Be a woman
Like any other,
And reconcile me with my language
And my tongue.

The Original:


اقل جمالا
نزار قباني

كلّما رأيتُكِ... أيأس من قصائدي
إنني لا أيأسُ من قصائدي
إلّا حين أكون معكِ...
جميلة انت... إلى درجة أنني
حينُ أفكِّر بِرَوعتِك...ألهَثُ...
تَلهثُ لغتي...
وتَلهَثُ مفرداتي...
خلِّصيني من هذا الإشكال
كوني اقلَّ جَمالاً...
حتّا أستردَّ شاعريتي
كوني امرأةً عادية
تَتَكحَّل وتتعطَّر...وتحبل...وتَلِد
كوني
امرأة مثلَ كلِّ النساء
حتى أتصالحَ مع لغتي
ومع فمي.

1 comment:

  1. love nizar's poetry ...read it all in arabic its afesat to the soul and i enjoy it more cos ima woman :) and ive been searching for some translations for my non-arab friends and ur traslation rocks :)

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