The Phoenix ( A Tribute to the womanist Tunisian poetess Raja Chebbi) / Poem by Olfa Philo

Poem by Olfa Philo


The Phoenix

A Tribute to the womanist Tunisian poetess Raja Chebbi.

In Tozeur- the land of oases and palm trees-
poets of all colors once gathered to display
the honey of their bees…

Among the different tastes of honey
coming from different
plants and flowers,
a delicious nectar consumed
my mind, heart and soul…
looks like my twin in her source of
inspiration and goal
a charming poetess named Raja / Hope;
an amalgam of
strength and sensitivity,
rebellion and wisdom,
softness and determination,
patriotism and devotion,
pride and modesty,
spontaneity and sincerity,
challenge and forthrightness,
pain and hope…

A nutrition graduate
with a distinguished post
in the Ministry of the Interior,
with the genes of poetry
in her family tree,
listening to her voice has been
a pure glee…

Most impressive of all
is her unrivaled memory!
Her poems are engraved in
her mind and heart –
a childhood gift bestowed upon her
from the start –
and from all other poets
set her apart…

Like a fountain of poetry
she started reciting
one poem after another,
switching from theme to theme,
from French to Arabic,
and the flow of her musical words
echoes the cheerful songs of a bird…

She surpasses high- tech gadgets in
her rich database and storage space
Google Translator is helpless before
her unparalleled faithful translation
of not only other poets’ words,
but their heartbeats
and sensations…

Verses emanate from her guts
from the bottom of her heart;
she writes stories about
shattered dreams,
betrayed oaths,
time ravages,
oppressed women,
brave martyrs,
cruel destiny,
and a kidnapped love
whose anguish is known only
by the God above…


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