When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

The Rescue of Śībī

Composed by Ḥmēd bir Sālim bir Baʿbēt and recited by Raġbōn birt Saʿīd Ḥawr; recorded by Sam Liebhaber at Raġbōn’s home near Kzayt in Ḥawf, March 2004.

PoemTranslation
1) hātūmhaǧs // w-šī heǧzōmA feeling has spent all night with me // and stayed with me the next day too
2) b-śībī hǧisk // bīs heǧsī dōmI am thinking about my camel, Śībī // who’s always on my mind
3) hwūt b-źīḳ // be-mkōn maʿdūmShe fell into a cleft // in a desolate place
4) ʾār sōlem ḥmēd // hēs hīs heḳdōmMay God strengthen Ḥmēd // as he comes over to her
5) hāl heh mešhūr // heh baʿlsen dōmHe’s very well known // as his herd’s constant shepherd
6) hās ġōṯī mġāt // w-wōḳa ʾezōrWhen he lifted her up by the neck // and placed her forequarters his back
7) w-līs ʿayyīd // be-ḫlēḳ hāṭawrTo help with this deed // [the people called to each other], whirling their shawls overhead
8) we-ġyūǧ šiǧhīm // l-ād hād wetḫawrThe men arrived // not a single one tarried
9) w-heh ǧbīlūl // we-zyūd w-ʾāḳawrAnd becomes like a mountain // and his strength grows greater.
10) we-klūl kensīt // w-nekfīs men ṭawrHe heaved with his shoulder // and lifted it all at once
11) we-hwōbī hǧōm // hōdōh w-šūġawrThen attacked the wolves // and took some rocks and threw them,
12) rektīsen b-ḫaf // w-ḥays el ḳṣawrHe ground them underfoot // and his power never failed.
13) we-ǧrūt fyōl // hāl šīsen tkūnThen the she-camel left on a safe path // to where the other camels grazed,
14) tetbē b-rekśīt // wel tēs hāṭawnShe follows the lead camel // and he lets her go unfettered
15) mġō ḥebrēs // ǧrūh w-šeḏḫawrAnd after her, her foal // went and pastured with her.
16) yestāhel ḥmēd // leḳā ḏ-šenṣawrḤmēd deserves // to boast,
17) ykesfes lā // ʾār bīs fetḫawrHe doesn’t hide [his deed] // but is proud of it.
 

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  1. Rescue of Śibi recording