When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra


Poem #9 from the Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn.

Recited by Ḥājj Dākōn and recorded by Sam Liebhaber at the Khalīj Hotel, al-Ghaydha, October 7, 2003.

Sung and recorded by Ḥājj Dākōn at his home, Mḥayfīf, May 2004.

Recited by Ḥājj Dākōn and recorded by Sam Liebhaber at the Khalīj Hotel, al-Ghaydha, October 7, 2003.

1) rī we-fwōd // ymoh ḏ-īrfīfMy lungs and heart // today are fluttering
2) ber melʾam śawḳ // w-bēr ġetlīfDesire has filled them // they have been filled to the brim.
3) l-ād wiṯḫem lā // men zawl we-ḏlīfThey haven’t yet settled down // from anxiety and excitement.
4) we-mbeyn źīlā // ḏ-yehharǧīfBetween my ribs // they are shivering.
5) ḏ–ār śefh eśśawḳ // ḫṭeyr we-klīfI’ve seen that desire // is dangerous and troublesome
6) ʾām bēr metkūn // w-ḥel be-ǧwīfIf it becomes rooted // and settles in its cavities,
7) yesdūd enfəsēt // we-tlōbed tlīfIt blocks the breathing // and you become a wreck.
8) we-tkūn maḥśēś // śʾōf we-ḥfīfYou are agitated // quick to anger and impatient
9) ḫā ṭāṭ ḏ-hālūḳ // śīwōṭ b-līfLike a dry palm frond // with fire on its fibres.
10) hoh ṣabrī tim // we-ḥḥōlī sfīfMy patience has finished // and my condition is weak,
11) we-mhawǧesī kel // mnī ḏ-nessīfAll my emotions // have been torn to shreds.
12) leywā ṣwāḳār // frēr w-āyīfO little falcon! // Go quickly! Fly!
13) w-bōṣer w-bār // men emḥeyfīfGo at dusk, travel all night // from Mḥayfīf,
14) w-hēt ḥatfōṯ̣ // ḳā hīnī wkīfKeep my order in mind // and act faithfully in my stead.
15) w-menbād esslōm // mḏebbel rdīfAfter the greetings // have been exchanged twice-over
16) ʾamēr bādīš // ḫā hoh mhaṣrīfSay: “After you // I’m like a man all used up.”

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