Two Generations of Yemeni Poets [Archives:1998/05/Culture]

February 2 1998

Abdulaziz Al-Makaleh, 59, was born in Yemen, studied at the University of Cairo, and returned to become an active promoter of Yemeni literature and culture. He is currently the rector of Sanaa University. Famous as a modernist poet throughout the Arab world, he has published many collections of poetry. In 1986, Al-Makaleh was awarded the Lotus Prize for literature.
A Song for Ashes For a Man Who Was my Friend Before you withdraw this dagger thrust into my back.. let me look at you, for my blood, embracing it, sniffed on the blade something of you, sensing a shadow of our old embrace and the fading fragrance of friendship.
The claw of a wolf.. and the palm are the same, the palm of the friend I carried in my eyelids* and my tears sustained. For him I was feathers and the horizon.* For him I was escape from silence. for his sake I fought against tempest and fire. I shared words with him. Why have I become ashes in his view so we’ve both disappeared? Roses and thorns are the same, as are a poem and a wound. How has my apple – alas – become a stone?*
Who will share with me the ecstasy? emerge from the moldering present.. from the bread of desolation and brave a tempest of ashes? who will don trees of nothingness, bite the bitter fruit of brotherly remorse and escape from this world of paper face?
* A sign of extreme affection * Freedom and space * Growth and non-growth