When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

Atop the Peak of Ṭarbūt

Poem composed by Saʿīd bir Laʿṭayṭ al-Jidḥī (Ǧēdeḥ), recited by ʿAlī Sālim al-Jidḥī (Ǧēdeḥ), and recorded by Sam Liebhaber in the office of the district manager (Ar. mudīr mudīriyya) of Qishn, January 2004.


Same poem, incomplete recitation by ʿAmr Sālim Šalmōten al-Jidḥī, recorded by Sam Liebhaber at ʿAmr Sālim’s home in Qishn, January 2004.


The transliteration and translation of "Atop of the Peak of Ṭarbūt" is previously published in Liebhaber, 2013 and reprinted here by permission of the publisher.  All rights reserved. 

 
PoemTranslation
1) ṭ̱ār ḳāten w-ṭarbūt // hel mǧawrī ḏ-rīḥeyn // wet ġmūzem w-klūbAtop the peak of Ṭarbūt // at the place of the paths of the winds // when they blow furiously and are joined together
2) we-ṭwōren emdīt // beyn edōṯer we-rbē // feyṣel ḥawlī ḳlūbSometimes (there comes) the sea breeze // between the stars of Dōṯer and Rbē // (when) the first season has come [or finished, lit. “happened”].
3) ṣrōme mehhəbīb // ṭ̱ār elēhen mātlīm // ān ewakb ertəkūb​Now I’ll compose a habbōt // atop a well-crafted melody // if the rhymes fit together.
4) hāǧes ār bāl demḳawt // menh eġwēyen lā // be-fwōdī yātǧūbMy thoughts are with the one from Damḳawt // whom I haven’t forgotten // in my heart, [my thoughts] are excited.
5) dōyem leḥnēt ḏ-ġeyw //  yātḳeyben l-erḳād // we-msōwī ʾātlūbThe close affection for a brother lasts forever // and is passed down through the clans // and the one who lives by it, executes it.
6) fīṭen eḫḫəṭōya lā // hel ḏ-ber ǧrōh slūf // we-ǧzē mnē ktūb​[The brother] didn’t remember the mistakes // those which had occurred in earlier times // the consequences of Fate.
7) we-ylēbī w-ṭerbūt // w-bālīt helfəlōf // we-kwōrī ḏ-ātūbAt Wadi Ylēbī and the mountain of Ṭarbūt [where the Ǧēdeḥ tribe lives] // that of the narrows and broad expanses // (whose) feeder-canyons are joined together
8) we-freḥsen zhōb // men kēṯer ḏe-dġā // tē bweśśer ertəbūbTheir happiness is readied // from the quantity of its strength // when the good news reaches them, they are eager.
9) we-ṣrōme hōh ṣrifk // l-fertēk enēzḥeyt // šīs trōkeb we-slūb​Now I’ve changed places // to towering Fartak [where the Kelšāt tribes lives] // She has gotten ready and has her ways (of fighting).
10) ber āmōr eḥāwlōʾī // men khēn mhawwəyīn // bōlī men škī w-ǧūbTheir women and children have said // they are fearless from long ago // a people of the sword and shield.
11) w-reźḥeyt w-hāḥyōt // śim etābel we-fḳāt // we-ntōšī meġlūb​Wadi Reźḥeyt and its hills // turned out beating on their war drums // the once-conquered are dancing.
12) mḳaymsen zhūl // yebśūr be-ʾātyōt // we-ḫzeynī eḫtəbūbTheir leader is confident // and is gladdened by the news // rifles discharge flame and sparks
13) mešdeywī eǧsēd // be-mnekkez āsēl // wel ebōlī be-śśəġūbTreating his body // with wild honey // there is not a single mind in dissention.
14) šīkem bālī we-śrawn // bōlī eḥḥəmūt eḳalb // wet nfūśem we-ḥzūbOur Lord be with you, O Heroes // people of a zealous heart // as they set out in the late afternoon girdled (with their war-gear)
15) men khēn yhāǧīb // ber ywōzem we-yźeyṭ // we-ṭṭərēf el yehyūbThey’ve made you proud from long ago // they’ve given and taken // they do not fear the other side.
16) ber dfēnem mhāktīb // hel enaṭḳ yeṭġōm // w-šeǧnīw men ehhəbūbHow often they’ve buried an event that was Fated // with speech (whose truth) is biting // and removed themselves from the howling wind!
17) fōn eġawreb ezernīw // bāl ezōyed ḏe-ġbēr // zehmōten le-ġrūbI’ve known from before the thundering rain clouds // the one that brings great quantities of dust // sheets of rain from water-buckets
18) eḏhībeh yeṭmūm // le-ǧdēd ebelyōt // we-k-ṣamt yekbūbIts flood covers the earth // even up to the ancient highlands // with violence (the flood) rolls down
19) we-ġźāb eźeymet ḳā // we-ġyīm l-ḥārwāḥ // w-hel men eṭma ksūbIts roiling surge encompasses the land // sending clouds over all of humankind // and snatches away everything that is valuable.
20) ḏ-ār bir ǧawn enōḳī lā // ʾāymel sād men eǧneyb // we-ḏ-ber mrōh ḥlūbBut the son of Ǧawn doesn’t pick favorites // he has made friends (or teats) on either side // whoever fondles the teats, gets milk.
21) we-ṣrōme ṣeḥyīn // berh naḥt be-ḫḫəlēt // we-mrōyes yeṭyūbNow the tribal arbiters // have smoothed the wood of its roughness // and even the obdurate is satisfied.
22) we-ḳbeylī el ydūm // ġeyr w-śūnī effīrōḳ // we-rkenh we-ḳtūbThe tribesman doesn’t hold forever to his position // unless he has seen to his non-tribal dependants // and his column and then he carries them on his upper back.
23) ḏekmeh sāten yefṭōn // ḥelweyneh yeshōr // men ewēḏī we-źrūbAt that time, [the reckless tribesman] remembers // throughout that night, he stays awake // from pain and grief
24) we-mǧawdel ḫmīlūl // ʾāmel lēhī men dmāt // we-b-ḫāṣem [*ḥāzen] eḳlūbHis legs go weak // and he bellows from his tears like a she-cow searching for her calf // and his heart and mind are in agony.
25) we-mṭōyer hel ḏ-zim // ʾād el wīfī eġsēr // dēḫen ke-bṭeyn ṣrūbWhen the different crops of a field mature // but before the husks have ripened // he harvests the millet and corn.
26) we-ṣrōme ṣeḥyīn // berh naḥt be-ḫḫəlēt // we-mhawǧes yeṭyūbNow the tribal arbiters // have smoothed the wood of its roughness // and the feelings are satisfied. [This line is a repetition of line 21 with one minor alteration.]
27) šī bīsen ḥwōyeǧ lā // w-merkaḥsen l-ġeyr // ār ġšīm yenterhūbI have nothing to do with these things // whose burdens are on somebody else // but the reckless one falls (into these situations).
28) zōwa ḏe-ḥmō yġeyś // tē w-lū lāḳā mźī // le-ḳnōṭer estəyūb(Like) a gush of water when it bursts forth // and even if it is a trickle // its flows (to others) through water channels.
29) w-ṭelbōne mertəfā // bād ezēl lāḳā hdē // w-erbōn yšēḳlūbI beseech the Heavens // after the fury has quieted down // and the owner has had his property restored
30) we-ṭbīn ḳṭawr enōf // nōdī le-śwēġī kel // ʾōlī ke-nḫā ṭrūbAnd the landowner whirls a flag over head // calling to every channel in the wadi // and (even) the one living high above desires (to respond) in earnestness.
 

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