Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hussein Bikar's Last Poem

A comment on the last post was just published by Basma Moussa. She addressed her comment to Anis Mansour, sharing with him a last poem dictated by Hussein Bikar to one of his relatives during his last days while in the hospital shortly before his passing. This is the first publication of Bikar's last poem to Egypt.

It is published here in its original language (Arabic), followed by a humble attempt at translating it into English...the beauty of its original language cannot be conveyed or described:

موال ربيعي
فتحت شباك الأمل على ارض سمرة معجونة بدم الشهيد
ولمحت شمس الأصيل مسجونة جوه قفص من سلك وحديد
وفجأة بصيت لفوق لقيت أسراب الحمام مليا القريب والبعيد
وفرحانة بالوشوش اللي بتبنيها وكأنه مهرجان أو عيد
قلت سبحانك يارب قادر تبدل العتيق بالجديد
وتصبح مصر عروسه زمانها شباب من غير تجاعيد

A spring love song [Mawal]

I opened the window of hope on a dark soil a dough mixed with the blood of the martyr

And the setting sun glimpsed through a prison cage of wire and iron

And unexpectedly I looked up and found flocks of pigeons filling near and distant

And their faces revealing happiness as if in a celebration or a feast

I said praised be God able to replace the ancient with the new

And Egypt awakens a bride of its age youthful and without wrinkles too

The secret of poetry can emerge through its interpretations. Another translation (below) provided by a language scholar of Bikar's poem illustrates this very clearly:

[Mawal] "a non metric melodic improvisation, it comes before the actual singing of a song and is usually associated with the layaly (ya leil ya ein--which has its roots in a story of the Arabian nights)."

I opened a window for hope
to seep onto a dark soil
a dough mixed with blood
and a martyr
The setting sun glimpsed
through a crack in the prison wall
through the wire and the iron
it crept and there my vision started
All at once I looked up
a flight of pigeons filled the distance
As though someone was celebrating a feast
unveiling a happiness
I praised the ways of God
transforming the ancient anew
this land, this Egypt
awakens too,
from old decrepit age,
sheds all wrinkles and is again
a youthful bride.


  1. I have not read many peoms in my life. I wonder what is being said in this peom. Because he was a Bahai, I think the peom is about the challenges faced by the Bahai faith in Egypt and a prediction that it will succeed gloriously.
    The first line may be referring to his attempt to proclaim the bahai faith(window of hope) in Egypt(dark soil; the people).
    Line 2 may be referring to his imminent death.
    line 3 may be referring to those that will rise to proclaim the message of Baha'u'llah in all of Egypt.
    Line 4 may be referring to the soldiers of God celebrating the victories of sharing the glad tidings of Baha'u'llah
    line 5 New world order of Baha'u'llah replaces the old order.
    line 6 may be referring to the current events related to the Bahai faith in Egypt. The state of Egypt has awaken the bahai faith (bride) by challenging the recent case that ended in favor of the state. The outcome is temporary considering the letter from the House of Juctice to Egyptian Bahais. A bright future is looming for Egyptian Bahais as seen by this great man .

  2. Anonymous,
    Thank you for expressing your opinion so unreservedly. I think that such poem could be interpreted in various ways by different people...this is one of the elements that contribute to the beauty of poetry.


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