Nizar Qabbani

I shall write of my girlfriends,
of inmates’ lives sucked dry by jail,
and magazine pages that consume women’s time,
and of the doors that fail to open.

So Rajaa Alsanea (Girls of Riyadh) quotes Nizar Qabbani, “the women’s poet, and if anyone doesn’t like my saying so they can go drink from the sea.”

[image: wikipedia]

The poet Nizar Qabbani, whose sister killed herself when he was 14 rather than marry a man she didn’t want, is perhaps best known for his love poems:

Love Compared

I do not resemble your other lovers, my lady
should another give you a cloud
I give you rain
Should he give you a lantern, I
will give you the moon
Should he give you a branch
I will give you the trees
And if another gives you a ship
I shall give you the journey.

I have tried to find this in Arabic, and it simply isn’t to be found, although it gets quoted in English on enough forums.

But there are some other poems in Arabic and English, a rather astonishing assortment,  including the severe البغي The Whore, and his controversial Bread, Hashish and Moonlight, here (via google books).

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