Salah Jaheen quadruplets

Salah Jaheen, an egyptian poet, cartoonist, actor and journalist. He is a very sensitive artist, and one of my favourite poets, well known for his quadruplets that are condensed short poems full of beauty and wisdom. I thought I would share 2 of my favourite quadruplets with you. As usual, the original script, and my humble translation.

انا شاب لكن عمرى ولا الف عام
وحيد لكن بين ضلوعى زحام
خايف بس خوفى منى انا
اخرس بس قلبى مليان كلام
و عجبى

I am a youth
but my age is one thousand years!
but a crowd within my heart cheers
but it’s myself I do fear
but many words my heart bears!

عينى رات كلمة من كلام الورق
النور شرق ما بين حروفها و برق
حبيت اشيلها فى قلبى قالت حرام
ده انا كل قلب دخلت فيه اتحرق
و عجبى

A word on a paper I saw
sunlight from between its letters
has shone
Within my heart I keep you
but it screamed no
For every heart I entered
was burnt and gone!

Her Wild Stallion

14 Responses to “Salah Jaheen quadruplets”

  1. hiscountess Says:

    you captured the magic of the arabic text and used everything the english language has to offer to show the beauty of the original meaning, simply lovely my darling!
    you are a language wizard, my language wizard 😉

  2. are you an arabic speaker? did you translate these yourself?

    Jahin is one of my favorite cartoonists/poets, For me his suicide signifies the death of a certain side of the egyptian personality.

  3. Yes, I am a native arabic speaker , and it was me who translated these poems. I have always had the tendency to translate the beautiful scripts I liked to english, because I wanted everybody, from everywhere to enjoy them. Hmm, I believe Jaheen’s words go beyond the language and the race, they are for everybody :)..I am not a professional translator, but if no professional was up to the mission, then I will go for it myself ..I hope my humble translation has not meesed up with the beauty of the original poem 🙂

  4. About his suicide part, I totally agree with you. His death signified the death of a very important component of the egyptian personality. It was like his sensitive heart couldn’t bear all the ugliness and the lies we are living in, and he decided to fly away, at least that is the way I like to see it..Hmm, this may sound a bit crazy, but it feels like egyptians are cursed! They kill every genius, and every man who matters, leaving only the sons of bitches living among them! Only sons of bitches have the talent for survival my friend 🙂

    • You did your best at translating him, but i dont think you can translate salah jahine, its highly specific to egyptians and can only be understood by someone who has lived in this country.

      I think we as egyptians are cursed…egypt is our disease the one we can’t get rid of, no matter what we do we can’t eliminate it from our lives. Egypt has conquered so many generations, and we wont be the last generation it crushes and spits out.

      • I don’t agree totally with you regarding that part. I think, as some of Jaheen’s work is really very specific to egyptians, there is still a lot of his creation that can be considered a sort of, hmm a sort of universal indeed. I think , at many times,he used local images and words to express universal meanings especially in his quadruplets.
        I believe that all people everywhere have a lot in common, they are very much alike, though they don’t notice it. The different cultures and habits serve as a cover, but if you look closer, beyond the differences, you will find that people from everywhere share a lot, more than they can even imagine.

  5. I agree on people having a lot in common, I also believe that his poems semantics can be translated but the syntax its self, the way he uses words, Egyptian words rather than arabic, in a way every quartet of his holds a part of the egyptian spirit. I dont think the Egyptian spirit can be translated or understood by someone who doesn’t – for instance- spend 3 hours everyday in traffic, or something equally egyptian.

    btw are you on twitter or FL?

  6. I understand your point.
    I am the pen and paper type of a person .. With the help of my partener, I hardly learned to use the wordpress thing. twitter and these stuff are very complex for my taste 🙂

  7. I love stationary myself, but I love using technology to get in touch with interesting people such as you. Which side of the relationship do you represent.

    Can i recommend something here, i believe you should sign your entries since there are two people adding entries to this blog.

  8. I am the male partener, and we do sign our enteries. At the bottom of each post you will find a signature, either ” Her wild stallion” or ” The Countess”. Besides, upwards at the headline of each post, you can see the person who entered it, either “thecountessshadow” or “hiscountess”, so simply, I am ” Her wild stallion” or ” thecountessshadow”, this is me you have been talking to.

    Her wild stallion 🙂

  9. Thanks, i dont know how i overlooked that 🙂 anyway write on…can’t wait for your next entry

  10. Thank you for translating these poems and bringing them to a wider audience. What a gift. I used an online translator to translate a poem I had written into Arabic, but I fear the result is disastrous. There is no substitute for human experience and your love of language and poetry is clear.

    • You are very welcome lazywednesdays, and thank you for your nice comment. I am glad that you liked Jahin’s poems, he is really a very remarkable artist who deserves to reach a wider audience..I am also glad that you cared to translate a poem of yours to arabic, it is really important for all of us from everywhere to communicate and share our beautiful thoughts and feelings, and the language should never be a barrier to stop us :). You are right, I am really fond of poetry , literature and language, our tool to express ourselves.
      I will be happy to revise the online translation you got for your poem sometime and tell you if the arabic translation gives the same meaning of the original english script. Thank you for your interest, stay around and be well.

      • Many thanks, I’d really appreciate that. I fear that using a computer generated translation has provided a very strange result and I’d be interested in any feedback. I look forward to reading more of your poems and translations.

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