Dik al-Jinn – A poem by Abdulwahab al-Bayati / Translated by John Henry Smith

A poem by Abdulwahab al-Bayati 


Dik al-Jinn

-I saw Dik al-Jinn in the secret garden,
Have six with the fairy jinni,
Overwhelm her with dewy kisses,
Crush her by his rocky hand,
And set fires
In her supplicating naked body,
But she flees before the climax is attained,
And returns to the depths,
Leaving behind her a shirt, a sigh,
A lock of hair and a flower,
She dies in the coral islands,
Naked and burned
And crushed like a lily,
Of her face, the wreath falls,
Here she is in the bottom,
On her face armies of worms creep,
-I saw Dik al-Jinn on the bottom, lidless,
On the back of the horse of his defeated time,
Combating dwarfs
Travelling inside the city,
From a street to a house,
On the horse of death,
-The city of invisible daggers!
This is the jinni
After her death, she returns a green girl,
A Roman maid,
-Beware women’s traps, my granny said
And prayed her night all,
-The lost bird of Elysium
Used to wake my fugitive childhood up,
-I saw Dik al-Jinn from his paradise casted away,
Hunting in the wilds of his dark night
And black words,
Stained with ink, dust
And sweats of his trips,
Barked by dogs, zeroes,
And the caliph’s Hajib (chamberlain)
-The sign of the Hour is foretold by Adajal’s appearance,
A comet trailing behind its light men
To the free of charge death,
In the cities of smoke,
-Frogs with their hoofs hold pens,
To write down what the tyrants and dwarfs said,
These are the yellow papers
Glorifying arrogance and crime,
Overwhelming this city every day,
-The deaf Hajib, the trumpeter and the drummer,
The knights of disgraceful generation,
Smearing the flags of revolutionaries
With mud and blood,
-A caliph in a cage and a poet
With his heart gambles,
-O illusionary dead Justice,
O jurists,
That’s the problem
Falling in the Jinni’s traps,
A dove on the gulf it was
Wailing in her net,
A pearl of a periled diver,
A zero of gold,
Roaming around himself in the appalling nothingness,
-I was riding my green wooden horse,
Fighting dwarfs in Madrid,
Thou are the Roman maid,
Don’t dismiss the foreigner,
I told her-and the veil fell
On the rug of the grass in the sunset,
She picked it up and cried the nakedness of the sky of autumn night,
-I am the Prince of night,
I killed her; I tore her into pieces by sword,
Under the sky of summer,
Staggering boozer,
I set her pieces ablaze,
Of her ash, I made a butterfly, a doll,
And a bewitched bowl,
Of which I am never quenched, O barman of the pub of light,
What will I to the fire of her resurrection say?
The fine nature
Doomed man to death,
And appropriated the living flame in the alternation of seasons,
-Tomorrow before the Lord in the inferno,
I will smash the doll and the bowl,
Following her through roadways to Euphrates,
Looking for a ring and love lost therein,
Sleeping on the shores,
A willow tree waiting for the clairvoyant,
The lightening and the bird,
And the dancers of light as well,
-I am the Prince of Aleppo, the orphan,
Travelling in the guts of the city,
From a street to house,
On the horse of death.

*Adajal means the false messiah,

*Dik al-Jinn is an Arab poet, who lived during the Abbasid period. He inherited a large sum of money from his father, but he lavished in too expensive a manner on debauchery and pleasures. He madly fell in love with a Christian girl named “Ward” (flowers) and he wrote so many love poems on his love to her. Then, he married her after converting into Muslim. His cousin “Abu Tayyab” tried several times to attract Ward to him but she let him down. He, therefore, became so jealous and spiteful that he managed a trap for her. When he learned that Dik al-Jinn was on business outside his city “Homs”, he came to Ward and told her that Dik al-Jinn died and then told Dik al-Jinn’s best friend “Baker” of his friend’s death and asked him to go to Ward and condole her and try as much as he can to quieten her sadness. When Dik al-Jinn came back and he reported to him that his wife betrayed him with his best friend Baker. Dik al-Jinn became so angry and mad that in no time, he slew both Baker and his beloved wife. Later on, he learned the truth and cried her for the rest of his life in funeral elegies.


Translated by John Henry Smith

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