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.


A detailed thematic analysis of this poem can be found in Liebhaber, 2013.

 
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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  1. Atop the Peak of Ṭarbūt Video
  2. Atop the Peak of Ṭarbūt (complete)