Thursday, March 20, 2014

Neoclassical Arab poetry with six translated poems of Al-Barudi

Neoclassical Arab poetry\ Al-Barudi\ translated poems  
The Egyptian poet
Mahmud Sami al- Barudi
1839- 1904
Why does al-Barudi consider the pioneer of the renaissance of modern Arabic Poetry?
This research contains:
A- Introduction
B- Analyses
C- Biography
D- Sample of chosen translated poems by me   

A- Introduction: 
Renewal in poetry is not provided just to create the new and the new only but it is either to add or to polish the classic poetry to give a shiny poetry verse keeps pace with the new era and does not ignore the past.
The renaissance in modern Arabic poetry began at the beginning of the ninetieth century, the era of knowledge movement, the time of new discoveries and innovations, the era when the Arabic man for the first time wanted to be librated in his thoughts to escort closely the development of the world. In one word, it did begin at the end stage of the Ottoman Empire's ascendancy on Arab region.
The eco factor, no doubt affects on the poet and for instance, the nomadic person does not say poetry as the civilian one, and likewise the farmer perhaps his poetry slightly differs from the universal student.
No doubt, the farmer will talk about the tools of the tillage or about the crops, and the student perhaps talks about the pen and his girl friend, and it maybe the farmer knows for example the different names of the natural herbs that the student never was acquainted with.
So far from the above examples, of course Arabs before the ninetieth or eighteenth century do not see the car, the computer, or the airplane.
Before the Islamic initial era and after Islamic era the Abbasids dynasty and the Umayyad dynasty, Arabs have simple life, living in desert and most of them are nomadic people.
 So normally, poet of that time would explain his surrounding environment and for instance, he would describe elaborately his camel- the poet  of nowadays cannot do so- the desert, his sword, his javelin, the battles he fought, the birds he saw in the early morning in his way when he went for hunting and the wild animals he hunted.
 In addition, forever and ever, he might not rebel about his normal tradition and he might explain notably these things through his poems, such as the honour, the honesty, the courage, guarding of a refugee, honoring and offering a good hospitality of the guest and so on.
Poets of pre Islam for example normally incited to start their poems by stopping near the ruins of their beloved, to cry honestly upon their beloved remnants, to remember their good times.
The cause possibly is illustrated as:
Perhaps those pots are in love with more than one girl, or the traditional customs in that time overcame upon daughters' fathers not to marry the daughter for a poet who was in love with her.
 Moreover, she was engaged to her cousin, or her father opposed who asked his daughter's hand, especially if the suitor is a strange man or from another tribe, even so and after the beloved died, the poet possibly kept with his obligation considering this loyalty as a scared thing.
The traditional feature in the classical poetry as it was familiar that the poem was initiated by crying and weeping near the lovers' ruins, gradually was going to be dated and to be obsolete. Now rarely can we see the modern Arabic poetry is going to imitate the normal pattern of the old poetry of pre Islam in starting poems with crying upon lover ruins.
B- Analysis
    Although many researches and critics discussed lengthily this matter but I want to shorten it in a few details.
1- To revive the literature this is by no means to neglect or cancel the role and the origin of the classic literature but to transfer or rebirth the classic poetry to be compatible with the modern one.
Al-Barudi for example used the word train instead of camel as the camel was considered the only device for travel at old time.
2- Al- Barudi as usually is referred to -The master of sword &pen- managed successfully in what we often called (The poetic diction) which it is parallel to Philip Sidney's hexameter.   
3- We can touch a special successful tendency in his poetry in that he harmonized between the archaic words and for instance, the pigeon is the child of the grove, the sea bird is the daughter of the water, and the rooster is the crested one.
4- Al- Barudi mainly had contrasted in his own poetry with some of the well known classical poems belonged to the Abbasid era or the Umayyad era, and really he was succeeded in rephrasing the old poetry to be in a new dress.     
This ability of reviving the old to be new is accounted for him.
Lastly, I would like to translate some of his famous poems in order to give the reader a virtual touchable witness into Al- Barudi poetry.
C- Biography
He is the major general al- Barudi, the poet who is descended from an old Circassian family of influence lived at Damanhur and was responsible to impose and collect tributes from people who inhabited there.
Al-Barudi grew up among a family of wealth and of a society position whereas his father also was a major general in the Egyptian military, took charge of as a governor of Barber and Dancalah cities in Sudan, and died there when his son Mahmud was in his seventh years old.
Al-Barudi was one of Ahmad Urabi's revolutionary chefs so was chosen to be a Minster of Defense then to be a Prime Minster according to the revolutionists wishes.
His study:
Al-Barudi got his first education into learning, reading and writing, memorizing the Holy Quran, learning the principles of Arabic grammar, learning some of Sharia rules, history and arithmetic until he completed his primary school at 1851 then the secondary then he entered the military academy when he was at a twelve years age.
He was graduated from the academy at 1855 as a chef sergeant and served directly in the Sultanic military.
His soul was yearning to the poetry from the earlier period of his education.
His practical life:
After a period of graduation as a low officer, the government appointed him at the Foreign Ministry and in 1858 he traveled for Istanbul and there he was acquainted with the Turkish and the Persian languages, moreover, he learned some of the world literature.
His familiarity with languages helped him to charge of the responsibility of the secretary of the Foreign Affairs of his country at Turkey and he remained there until 1863.
When al- Khedive Ismail ascended the viceroy's throng of Ottoman Empire in Egypt, he assigned al-Barudi into his retinues.
Al-Barudi felt that his new duty in the divan of government was an annoying job and when he felt that his soul still long for the military so he did many attempts and lastly was succeeded to return for military at 1863.
Al-Barudi took charge of the leadership of tow al- Khedive guardianship detachments and proved a high qualification during the military campaign, which was sent to help the Ottoman army, into subdual the turmoil that broke out at Crete Island in 1865.
In the midst of the fierce war there, some of verses slipped out of his tongue describing the battles he fought in, a poem, which is considered one of the poet's wonderful still forever poems, which its opening is:
A slumber took over eyelids' margins
Marching at night gave vent to the horses' reins
Night would spread its wings boastfully  
Over the small hills and mountainy ground
Eye cannot distinguish but to see only—
A glimmering of fire raised up and downed
Al-Barudi transferred from one job to another into the al-Khedive's government then he returned for military, and when the war between the Ottoman Empire and Russia broke out, the Egypt government sent him as one of the leaders of its campaign.
After al-Barudi showed his bravery in the mentioned battles, he was blessing with a sublime badge of honour and the rank of major general.
Al-Barudi was one of the champions of the successful- revolution against al-Khedive Tawfiq that held by Ahmad Urabi and here at this occasion he held over the charge of Prime -Minster until May 1882 when he was excelled with the other revolutionists to Colombo city in Serendib Island- (Sri Lanka), and he stayed banished there until 1899.
In his exile place, he said many homesick poems describing his pain, his misery, his indescribable yearning and torture to his family and to his country, moreover his wife was died still he was imprisoned, and he met the edge of torture when his health became worst after his sixty years old.
When he was delivered out of exiling place, his glamorous delight was incredible and he chanted the "Chant of Return".   
Is it Babylon or Egypt that I have seen?
I see eyes replaced the "charm" had been.
D- Translation of the significant al-Barudi poems:
MMA- the Iraqi translator
Many of Al-Barudi poems tell concretely us about his misery condition and his homesick to his country after he was exiled to Serendib, and his condition became worst especially when the news came to him informing him the death of his wife and his larger son Ali, while he was still at his exile place.
1- Poem 1: He said it at a prison illustrating his unendurable pain as he was cut off relation with any friend or family, and it explains his dark view complainants, briefly to say, that he was jailed between four closed walls.     
Passion wore me out, yet afflicting with sleepless
Delusions overcame, so my life going distress
Never the darkness of night giving rout
Nor the daybreak comes out
No sociable friend hears my compliant
Out of any news or a vision, I am being derelict
Between walls and closed door, I got racks
A door whenever the jailer moves, it cracks
A jailer there steady goes ready to hear
At any slight movement he comes near
When I intended any purpose to be done,
Dark would say, Stop! Don’t turn
When I looked for anything, I do want
Nothing I did find, nor did my soul halt
A darkness never it has glimmering star
But it has a night breathing the sparks far
O, soul, be patient until you secure your case
Tolerance, no doubt, is the key of success
Our life is just a bit of breaths no long will wait.
A man wherever he goes is the captive of his fate.
2- Poem 2: The poem also was said at a prison disclosing the yearning and the deep passionate soul of the poet when he got tortured and unhealthy conditions.
It reveals the complaining of his exiling sufferance.     

Is not there any physician to heal the passion malady?
An ill man still has a deep sorrow living sleeplessly.
Yet the yearning bestowed him in one breath to be survived!
Alas, the separation extends over until his last breath is faded.
A deep pining sorrow eats me from down
Woe! I was eaten by grief and homesickness in this town.
I bear patiently even if my soul is so far pitiful
Tolerance tires out soul even if to love is tolerable      
No intimate friend is in Serendib to refuge I borrow
No sociable thing I have but my deep-savaged sorrow

Poem 3: This is in erotic poetry, in some verses of this poem, he imitated the ancient traditional poetry and as I think, he borrowed the dialectic soul of some verses of a certain old poem.

You, who overstepped the bounds of blame, take it easy.
Are you a humane more to my liver malady?
Please, leave me out of your blame, if you are enough witty
Within love, blame is considered as a part of a jealousy  
Besides love has dreadful pain, perhaps I tend to be satisfied.
But I don’t satisfy in what speech bouncing from side to side.   
If anybody has sharp-mind that leads him for right,
None will blame others just to be delight.
Avoid the passion out of my heart if you had a power
My gratitude then is for you forever and ever.
If not, do not reproach me and let me going as I shun 
I am the man who controls neither on himself nor in his passion.
The girl whom I in love with, her love veiled my sight   
As my soul was covered with a thick veil of night  
To earn her favour I got enmity with all my relatives equally.
They turned foes after they were to me close cordial family.
They said he fell in love with another one to avoid his painful hurt 
Never the saddest pain will come out the affectionate heart    
I replied never I want a lover other than her certainly.
Allah doesn’t create at all tow hearts in one body.
Poem 4: This poem also was said at his exile place explaining the misery and the sufferance of poet's soul. It dose disclose his visionary profound soul which almost is yearning to catch a ray of hope.   
A faint sound took away the sleep from my eyes soon.
As it was embodied in a vision, visited me at dawn
I asked my eyes to know what my ears hared!
It said to me, perhaps I can interpret the mystery code!
Then it perks up to be as an alert bird!
It did captivate sight and hearing once more 
 Once it was perching over a bough,
Lively it shook up flutteringly its wings 
As a flickering heart did remember optimist news
Never will it be settled, awake! Day and night
Once its breath calms, it turns upset again
The bough would move it up or down, as it wants.
As a kicking ball, the rod casts it away
What curses him while he is sound living at peace!
To turn one's eye unless he is fearful and wary!
When it went up it slept at a smoothed green place
And once went down, it watered or picked up a grain
O, bird, indeed, you scared my beloved vision.
That gave me a pleasant hour at dawn.
Darkened- eyed as a gazelle when she glanced.
Likewise a shiny picture of a full moon ascending up
Right after her visions left me methinks lonely…
Yen comes then until I am mournful and sleepless
Does a blessing year come again when in need?
Perhaps from her coming back vision we are inhaled!
Poem 5: The elegy poem about his wife  
 Death's hand, no triggers excluded, unless it examined
All of glowing furnaces in my heart it emplaced
It enfeebled my resolution even if it is tolerant
It destroyed my figure even if it is a javelin like
I didn’t know whether I was taken suddenly—
or it was an arrow stabbed me in my chest
A matter makes my eyes shedding abundant tears
Flowing over my cheeks as a reddish strawberry
I didn’t expect that I am a weak against life's destiny
To be its victim, then it enfeebled my entire body
I am afflicted with sorrow until I was faded
For a visitor who visits me I am not identified
I do ask the help of the sigh while it is scorching
Meanwhile I sipped my tear and it is abundant
Never my agony will leave the heart to be calmed
Never my hand is capable to return a lover who departed
O, time:
For what do you torment me taking away my wife?
She was my breath and the precious jewel of my life
Mayest are not a pitiful with me after her departure!
Won't you keep merciful with my sons as a helper?
Sleepless because of their pain when turn unaccompanied.
Sore-eyed shivering livers, they stayed
They cast out their jewels after their mother got dead.
By their tears adorned their necks, to be jewels instead

Poem 6: This poem also was said in homesickness after al-Barudi departure of his country to be one of the participant leaders who took part with the Ottoman Empire into its battles with the Russian and especially at Bulgaria region.
The last verses of the poem, which dealt with the description of nation there, I do not translate them.   

You are the ever shelter to me when I am in trouble
O, my country my yearning to you is indescribable
My patience, O, do my sleep I cannot borrow
Ah! They were entrapped in my sorrow
No arriver delivered news to me since I departed
No post was sent perhaps that I got delighted
I am alone being far away of my sociable people
To be striven for loyalty perhaps going to topple
Is not there any returning to who was remotely grieved?
Is not there any carrier of swift dispatch to be arrived?
Doth the bygone time turn back to be a truth again?
Is it possible the tasty days for another time return?
I went on satisfying myself into a time was bygone
But the old thing perhaps is changed to be a new one
To remember the ancient time is just to be devoted 
It is the gratitude right of joyful youth to be honored
It is by no means that was died, is considered lost

The lost is who vainly into living distantly does accept