New Oedipus!!


Naguib Soroor, an Egyptian striver, poet, writer and theater director. Born to a poor family in a small Egyptian village, he witnessed a lot of oppression, social injustice, dictatorship and brutality at a very young age, and his own experience has shaped his pathway in life.
He left the school of law to join the institute of performing arts from which he was graduated, and started shining in the world of poetry and theater. He joined the communist party and struggled against the ruling regime, after which he was exiled outside Egypt for many years until he came back in the mid sixties. You may agree or disagree with Soroor’s political views, but after all  Soroor has always taken the side of the people, and was always ready to pay the price for his word. He was a very genius writer, with an extraordinary depth and truthfulness. This is one of his short poems, called the “New Oedipus”. It is a part of his amazingly deep and beautiful divan ” The Human Tragedy”, a divan that values human life, dignity, and rights, like all of his work..

It was very difficult to translate this poem and maintain its rhyme, so forgive me if you feel it a bit tough, that is because of my translation, and not because of Naguib Soroor’s original beautiful words.

You will find here the Arabic script Naguib Soroor wrote, followed by my humble translation.

اوديب الجديد
و سرت يا حبيبتى تشيلنى بلد
و يا حبيبتى تحطنى بلد
و الموت يزرع الطريق..فى كل شبر مقبرة
حتى اتيت غولة بمنعطف
!…كانت تدق ملح
و كان حولها من العظام تل
يا هولها بشعرها الطويل
بعينيها..بظفرها المهول
بنابها..بصوتها الرهيب
يا ايها الغريب
انى هنا من الف قرن
معى سؤال لم يقل جوابه احد
..قتلت الف الف
..بلعت الف الف
!فهل تجيب يا غريب؟؟ او تموت؟؟
شفاعة يا غولة الدهور
انى تعبت و السؤال قد تعب
!!ضراعة يا غولة الدهور
اموت لو تجيب..فلتمت ان لم تجب
 :القت سؤالها يطق من عيونها الشرر
ما اعظم الاشياء؟؟
ما اجمل الاشياء؟؟
ما اخلد الاشياء؟؟
و حينما اجبت انه الانسان
!!رايت غولة الدهر تنتحر
و هكذا يا حلوتى اتيت
يا واحتى على الظما من ربع قرن
يا فرحتى من بعد حزن ربع قرن
يا كعبتى..يا حلم ربع قرن
أنا هنا..أنا هنا..أنا هنا و لم امت
!!أنا هنا و لم أمت
نجيب سرور

New Oedipus

I did walk
from a country to another
and death cultivating the road
with a tomb at every inch
until I reached a turn
where an ogress was grinding salt!

The bones around her forming a hill!
Scary she was
with her long hair
her wild tusk,
her eyes and her huge nail!

With a monstrous voice she spoke:
You stranger
Here I am
for one thousand years
A Question I have that nobody
ever answered for real!
I killed so many
I swallowed so many
they never answer
and everybody dies
so would you answer stranger
or would you die ??
-Please, ogress of time, let me pass
the question is tired
and so do I !
-Mercy, ogress of time
I die if you answer
so if you don’t
you will die!!

With an evil spark in her eyes
She asked:
What is the greatest of all things??
What is the most beautiful of all things??
What is the immortal among everything??
That is Man, I said!!
and the wild ogress was scared
and stabbed herself dead!!

That’s how I came my love
my oasis in the deserts of thirst
my joy in the forest of sadness
my temple
and my dream!
Here I am my sweetheart
I am not dead afterall
I am here
I am still here!

Naguib Soroor.

Her Wild Stallion.

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