Saleh Faqih, What About His Works? [Archives:2001/49/Culture]

December 3 2001

Saleh Faqih, a poet, is one who was able to immortalize himself by his poetics. He was born in 1903 in Ibb and was brought up and educated in the same city. Owing to the difficult situation under the reign of the Imamite, he, like many others, had to leave for the south of country. He settled in al-Hawtah of Lahj where he worked as a mason and continued his education. His determination to educate himself soon became fruitful, as he became one of the outstanding literary figures in Yemen.
He composes poems both in standard Arabic and in Yemeni dialect. His contribution to the development of the Lahji song is undeniable. Many popular singers such as Fadhl Mohammed al-Lahji sang his songs. Among the great contemporary singers who have sang many of his poems is Faisal Alawai. One of the great poems he sang is Dharibat Arraml (the Fortune Teller), which reflects the southern people’s situation under the yoke of colonization. In fact, his popularity was not less than that of al-Qumindan, the founder of the Lahji song. On his part, al-Qumindan held him in very high esteem.
One of the stories that is still remembered by people and which shows how much al-Qumindan loved Saleh Faqih, is when al-Qumindan sought Saleh’s help to complete a part of a verse-line. Faqih also sang for the revolution in the south. The best example is Qal Abu Zaid (Abu Zaid Says), which was sang by Mohammed Morshed Naji.
Faqih had different governmental posts, the last of which was as Governor of DarSad. After that, in 1967, he left for Taiz where he lived until he died. The question that is still haunting us is what will happen to his works. We hope that more attention will be paid to publishing his works.