Poetry Corner N° 2: Dalila al-Zaituni

At the risk of appearing utterly backwards and unappreciative of the arts in all their forms, and while I have long adored books of all genres, poetry has remained the last bastion of writing to prove elusive both in terms of writing, and reading.

Certainly, I can appreciate good poetry and gasp in all the right places, yet still not be entirely moved.

Until today that is, when I came across the following poem by the Tunisian poet, Dalila al-Zaituni, composed in 1982 and translated from French by miriam cooke.

As the sadness and emotion ooze from each word, al-Zaituni’s writing could wring tears from a statue:

My Life

My life is lack,
misery, pain,
hell, boredom
So why live?

My life is tears
and flames of a burning heart
The light of all candles has hid
Why a life of grief?

My life is anxiety,
ice and a winter night
and a slow death…extinction
Is there no mercy, O Time?

My life is a desert,
a fence…oppression
Where is the light, the day?

[Taken from: Opening the Gates: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing, by Margot Badran and miriam cooke, 2004.]

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This entry was posted on August 7, 2008 by in Culture, Middle East, Tunisia and tagged , , , , .
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