Arabic Language Blog

Colloquial poetry Posted by on Mar 24, 2009 in Culture

Arabic poetry is not only written in standard Arabic, but also in colloquial dialects. Colloquial poetry sometimes becomes songs. I believe that it is a very interesting genre, as it is closer to people’s lives, worries, dreams and trouble than Standard poetry, at least for me.

In Egypt, colloquial poetry has been an integral part of Egyptian culture. In this posting, I present excerpts from (رباعيات صلاح جاهين). This is a book of 4 lines poems; each one presents a moment of the life of Jahin, a philosophical statement, a thought, etc. Each little poem ends with the expression “I wonder!” They are very vivid and touching, and very difficult to translate.

Why , darling, there is always a long distance between us

Our separation is a sin that cannot be forgiven

Why , my darling, there are always seas between us

Every time I cross one, I find a new one to cross

I wonder!

ليه يا حبيبتي ما بيننا دايما سفر

ده البعد ذنب كبير لا يغتفر

ليه يا حبيبتي ما بيننا دايما بحور

أعدي بحر ألاقي غيره اتحفر

عجبي !!!

Behind each window, a thousand eyes watching

As you, my sad love, and I are walking

If we get closer, we die with a stone!

And if we get further, we die of agony!
I wonder!

ورا كل شباك ألف عين مفتوحين

و انا وانتي ماشيين يا غرامي الحزين

لو التصقنا نموت بضربة حجر

و لو افترقنا نموت متحسرين

عجبي !!!

I was something, then became another thing, and a third thing

See, God is capable of doing everything

Trees shook their branches and whispered to me

One thing has to die for another thing to live!

I wonder!

أنا كنت شئ و صبحت شئ ثم شــئ

شوف ربنا .. قادرعلي كل شـــــــئ

هز الشجر شواشيه ووشوشني قال :

لابد ما يموت شئ عشان يحيا شئ

عجبي !!

The following link shows Jaheen reciting some of his Ruba’eyat poems, and some others that became songs.

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