When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

Wahība Raiders

Poem composed by Bḫīt bir Maḥrūs Qhōr Thawʿar al-Mahri (no information available), sung by Musallim bir Rāmes, and recorded by Sam Liebhaber in Ṣalālah, February 2012. The poem mentions Musallim bir Rāmes Ṣāliḥ Saʿd (Bīt ʿAmūš) Thawʿar al-Mahri, grandfather of Musallim bir Rāmes, who recorded this poem. The melody of this recording is Musallim bir Rāmes’s variant of the traditional samʿīn samʿīn melody. Similar in content to ʾōdī wə-krēm krēm poems, samʿīn samʿīn poems address specific events; however, the melody that accompanies sung performances of these two types of poem is different.

The poem is approximately eighty to one hundred years old and described a raid on the Bīt ʿAmūš by the Wahība tribe. The Wahība surprised two Mahra from Bīt ʿAmūš of the Bīt Ṣabḥ subsection—a father and a son—whom they killed, but not before the two Mahra had exacted their price. The son acquitted himself particularly well by sneaking around the Wahība raiders and killing two of them from a rear position before he himself was killed. The poet calls upon Rāmes to lead the counterattack and praises his skill as a raider.



 
PoemTranslation
1) samʿīn ʾawmer bīs // wel ḳōfel līs ebōb // eǧwōbes men ḥrō[Hark,] o listeners, I am speaking about this [event] // the door is not closed for it // the response to it comes right from [my] head.
2) ḳeṣdōna be-fzāt // eḏ-m rīḥeḳ ehyīṭ //el-wheybe hīs ġzōI will say a qaṣīḍa about the fearsome [attack] // [those] who braved danger from afar // the Wahība when they attacked
3) šīhem slēb eǧīt // we-ḏlēl ʾabrōt // we-mzōyed ḏe-ḥmōThey [carried] with them good weapons // sturdy, far-travelling mounts // and plenty of water.
4) we-dlēlhem fhēm // berh ḏ-ġrūb bkāt // we-hnafh eḏ-ḥzōThe guide understood the way // indeed he knew the area // he keeps himself out of the way of danger
5) te šūḳa l-ḥākəbīt // eṭṭərefse klōhUntil he brought them to [Wadi] Ḥākəbīt // [and] its two sides
6) kūseh bēr we-ġyūǧ // we-hbūn ḏ-bet eṣabḥ // teḳḳəfōren eḏ-ḳnōhThey found camels and men // the children of the clan of Ṣabḥ // May God requite those who raised them.
7) šēhī essəbūr ḫeybet // lehne mḏeyyəbeyn // we-mderrəkeyn klōhThe two of them had a couple of bullets // but they were courageous // and they, the two of them, were vigorous fighters.
8) ḥebrē ḏ-hemmes ǧīd // eḳnawn eḏ-herhōThe son whose mother’s name is virtuous // a young lad who shows no fear.
9) nōke bīhem hel śat // hel eǧeyḥī ebḥayt // we-mġōren šehǧōHe came at them from around and about // at the [flank] of a steep mountain // and then he came to stop.
10) ṭarḥeyhem ḏe-ślōl // be-źhēr ḏ-bātī nōb // we-mlōteḳ men ṯrōhHe let them load up // on the backs of the large, sturdy camels // the corpses of the two.
11) men hnīhem we-hnīn // ʾenʿəyūten kel bkōhFrom them and from us // every mourner cried
12) ʾazzətehn w-ʾazzəteyn // ʾazzəteyn tnōfe lā // ʾār ḏe-b-ḥeydeh eswōhIf only…if only….// “If only…” doesn’t help // but what is “in the hand” is an action.
13) reytəhem bīt ʾeskanyōt // ʾawḥāhem elṭəyūm // we-mnōbī berh ṭwōhIf only they were of Bīt Eskanyōt // and that their rescue had come together // and that the news had arrived at night.
14) ǧrēzzəmenna we-ġyūǧ // tehmān hīsen ṣawt // hīs lḥaymer wet wsōhRifles and men // you would hear the sound from them // [similar to] when the star Luḥaymar “rains” [i.e. heralds the start of the rainy season].
15) ʾār yeslōm hīhem ʾāḳrōn // ʾādeh rāmes šīkem bōhMay God strengthen him [Rāmes] against them, knowledgeable in the terrain // so that Rāmes would be with them here.
16) rāmes yedlōl ʾāḳā // ber dwīlef emaġzē // eḏlōla hedlōhRāmes is well versed with the land // he is accustomed to raiding // [on] a riding camel that he takes.
 

Start a new adventure

This page has paths:

This page has tags:

This page references:

  1. Wahība Raiders Audio