The Poet Mohammed Noaman Al-Hakimi to Yemen Times “When I start writing, I feel I live in a world that is full of leisure, conceit, beauty and charm.” [Archives:2000/29/Culture]

July 17 2000

The Poet Mohammed Noaman Al-Hakimi to Yemen Times:
The incipient phase of loftiness with which I was withdrawn into a conscious instant when I deeply felt an inexpressible human sensation told me “You are a poet”
Mr. Mohammed Noaman Al-Hakimi is a rising young poet from Taiz, Yemen. He holds a bachelor degree in English. His reputation as a poet was established soon after he secured the second rank among poets of Taiz at a contest held in Taiz governorate in 1998. The purpose was to choose two best winners to represent their governorates in Sana’a at the first poetical festival organized by the ministry of Culture under the watchword of “For the homeland we compose the best poems”.
Al-Hakimi represented Taiz governorate in Sana’a alone. Free from tinsel and notification fake, he got even mellower and comelier soon after attending the poetical festival.
Yemen Times, Taiz Bureau Chief Imad Al-Saqqaf along with Mr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Humaidi had the privilege of interviewing the poet. Excerpts:
Q: What is the use of poetry in this era of history?
A: Poetry is needed for the sake of poetry itself. Although the poet does not necessarily serve the common experiences shared by all of us, yet we would like to confirm that there are still some poets who may rightly be considered the mouthpieces of their Ommah. They make use of poetry to be a weapon to express the common experience relating to the present. Today poetry has a rather frail relationship with the common man. Yet, there are some who are deeply concerned about their relation with the common man and express their interest and ideas through the vehicle of poetry.
Q: How did you start writing poems?
A: I started writing poems few years ago. I went into the world of poetry through several trails. I got on its charming abode one in the prime of my life with the support of Al-Baraddoni, Al-Zubeiry. Some classical poets such as Shawqi, El-Sayab, Nagi, Al-Maqaleh and so on. On the track, I rested for a while on some well-known Arab beaches. Then I resumed my cruise which led me to some realms in the European, American and world poetry. I explored the poetry of celebrities in the many-faceted arena of arts since the 15th century up to the present time. It was a splendid excursion which revealed to me the romance of Wordsworth and the real world of John Donne.
Q: Will you give us some ideas about published works?
A: I have got a collection of poems in press which is entitled ” Madness Ports”. Further, some of my lyric poems are chanted during the celebration of wedding ceremony and associated events – all in Arabic.
Moreover, I am a member of Literary Men’s Union and of the Yemeni League for Arts and Culture too.
Q: What are your ideas about the English poetry?
A: I wish some of the modern English poems were translated to those Arab poets who claim they compose modern poetry so that they could get a clear idea about what modern poetry means! The spirit of renewal and beauty of the modern English poetry lies in the truth which states that it lacks it
Q: You participated in the First Poetic Celebration in Yemen held in Taiz. What are your impressions about it?
A: It’s truly a major step for bringing together on one platform the promising poetic talents in our country, and to encourage them to go ahead. I was the only representative from Taiz in the poetical festival in Sana’a which honored one or two awardees from each governorate by the Ministry of culture in 1998. By honoring me, Taiz governorate is actually honored.
Q: When do you prefer to write poetry?
A: I don’t know when exactly I compose poems. Yet, the best time my feelings are crystallized is in the early morning. When writing, I don’t have to seek for a topic or a theme. In fact, whenever I get impressed or affected by something, I immediately start writing about it. And it is the poem that chooses its poetical form and meters. When I start writing, I feel I live in a world that is full of leisure, conceit, beauty and charm. By that moment, I never feel interested in talking to people. I keep quiet and ignore all who visit me or try to contact me.
Q: You tend to reflect some anger and animosity in your poems. Why is it so?
A: Can any one deny the debates occurring around us and the unpleasant winter that we are passing through on a large scale today? I am one of those who suffer, feel and witness all such subservience, moral breakdown and erosion of values around us. I wonder how I can sleep or relax when Arabs and Muslims suffer being down-trodden, insulted, invaded and humiliated. It’s difficult for me to ignore my dreamÑthe Arab Unity. This dream has almost vanished and we, as Arabs, are only boastful of our brave past, quite negligent or unconscious of being backward people, and silent witness to deterioration in almost every field in life, leaving Arab Ommah to its inglorious destiny.
Here are some quotable stanzas from one of his poems in English.
Winter and compunction
Completely scattered, we’re impelled to surrender,
Empower the low colonizing invader,
Yielding possessions that to us belong,
Acceding humiliation all time long
Of no avail, boastful of our past brave,
Still cheering the one in the grave,
Who could ever become greater,
We marched with him our Leader.
Holy precincts clearly violated
Arab dignity deeply insulted
They vanished like a mist
Not a nightmare or a jest.
Will spring come to us again?
Will Arabness rid us of pain?
To protect dignity violated
To restore land invaded.
Much Fie on Pain
O sparks of moon, for thee I seek
O stars of moon, dust off thy reek
Stand by thee, get sight of light
Defame insult, discard the leek
As frail, those words and leaves
As souls, o slaves of thieves
O still you claim of sight
But sip all night’s grief
So loud the cries of pain
So much my land does gain
Does wail for a world of hope
But alas! hope recede wane and wane
For land does sing this don
Does ring its dawn and bong
Till those unfair get low
Get down to coy for long