Lutfi Jaafar Aman: A poet in a mind [Archives:2002/07/Culture]

February 11 2002

Lutfi Jaafar Aman was a Yemeni poet born in Aden in 1928. He was brought up in Aden but completed his secondary and university education in Khartoum, Sudan where he got the diploma in Arabic. He joined the teaching profession and was promoted as a vice-minister for education. He was considered one of the great romantic poets in modern Yemeni verse.
Some of his works were Remains of a Tone, The Green Way, Night, How Long Will You Stay? and To Fedayeen in Palestine.
In colloquial Yemeni dialect he wrote, I live for you.
He died in 1971.
One of his mortal poems is a A begging child which says:
O my little child, in your sad face
Is my big homeland?
My homeland with its wideness
My suffering homeland in all its territories
The throbbing homeland on remains of life
My big homeland
Is in your sad face; my little child
You are a wound of a sad song
Bleached by bowels of the city
Shrunk by houses
Even tired darkness
Which lies in the bottom of the wall
Imprisoned the shadow
And the faint lantern regarded it great
To put up the hand of light
To your road ways
And you put on emaciated hand
To beg for the sake of God
By which you squeeze my heart and melt my soul
And humiliated lisp
For Gods sake. [Teiyidi] (Sir)
My wounded bleed
No, my little child
My lands gifts have never been little
But we are a poor people it is said.
People of Shreds, ruins and mean bread
A people passed by processions while it is tied to march wandering in all lanes as a child like you
Ragged and mean
To let them say we are a poor people
No my little boy
My country was a rich pastureland for beggars
It was and we were chewed, weakened and frightened by imperialists
Seeking for inspiration of the dark invisible world
While processions of the free pass madly
Folding sorrows,
Breaking high mountains into crumbs,
Storming in the castles
But you, tribes, tribal branches and I
Seek for inspiration of the dark invisible world
Forsaken satisfied
And beggars
No, my little byno, my little boy
I dont want you to be
A symbol for our cursed past
Because you, my little child, are
My big homeland
With its wide territories
The holy land
With its honor, pride and self-esteem
Translated by: Saad Sharif Tahir