Monday, December 05, 2011

For After Prison, There is Only the Glory of a Rising Dawn

Here is a beautiful poem written in 1922 by Najib al Rayess. I've never been able to find a rendition that does it justice, and so I will just put down the poem, and try to translate it in English as best as I can. When I hear that more and more people that I know are getting imprisoned, these are the first words that come to mind:

 يا ظلام السجن
كلمات: نجيب الريس (1922)

يا ظلامَ السّـجنِ خَيِّمْ إنّنا نَهْـوَى الظـلامَا
ليسَ بعدَ السّـجنِ إلا فجـرُ مجـدٍ يتَسَامى

أيّها الحُرّاسُ رِفـقـاً و اسمَعوا مِنّا الكَلاما
مـتّعُـونا بِـهَـواء منعُـهُ كَـانَ حَرَاما

إيـهِ يا دارَ الفخـارِ يا مـقـرَّ المُخلِصينا
قدْ هبطْـناكِ شَـبَاباً لا يهـابـونَ المنونا

و تَـعَاهدنا جَـميعاً يومَ أقسَـمْنا اليَـمِينا
لنْ نخونَ العهدَ يوماً واتخذنا الصدقَ دِيـنَا

يا رنينَ القـيدِ زدني نغمةً تُشـجي فُؤادي
إنَّ في صَـوتِكَ مَعنى للأسـى والاضطهادِ

لـسـتُ والله نَسـيّاً ما تقاسِـيه بِـلادِي 
فاشْـهَدَنْ يا نَجمُ إنّي ذو وفــاءٍ وَ وِدادِ

Oh the darkness of this prison, descend on us for we love the dark;
There is naught after imprisonment but the glory of a rising dawn

Oh guards, be gentle, and listen to our words;
Deny us not this air, for banning it is a sin

Oh land of pride and home of the loyal;
We the youth have arrived, and fear no death

And we had all promised, the day we gave our oaths;
To remain true to our word and took truth for our creed

Oh ringing chains, sing me a song to raise my spirits;
For your voice gives meaning to oppression and hardship

By God I have not forgotten what my country suffers;
So bear witness, oh stars, that I remain faithful and loyal 


poshlemon said...

This is indeed a beautiful poem. So is your translation.

I think Oumaima Khalil and Marcel Khalife together would be able to do it justice.

I am sure you know this but check it out:

mgb said...

Hi, good job with the translation.

There seems to be some confusion as to the exact words and order of the verses as I have seen several versions. This is the one I learned in school many many decades ago:

يا ظلام السجن خيّم إننا نهوى الظلاما

ليس بعد الليل إلا فجرَ مجدٍ يتسامى

إيه يا أرضَ الفخارِ يا مقّر المخلصينا

قد هبطناكِ شبابًا لا يهابون المنونا

وتعاهدنا جميعًا يومَ اقسمنا اليمينا

لن نخون العهدَ يومًا واتخذنا الصدقَ دينًا

ايّها الحُراس عفوًا

واسمعوا منّا الكلاما

متعونا بهواءٍ منعه كانَ حرا مًا

لستُ والله نسّيًا ما تقاسيه بلادي

فاشهد يا نجم أنّي ذو وفاءٍ وودادِ

يا رنينَ القيدِ زدني نعمةً تُشجي فؤادي

إن في صوتك معنىً للأسى والاضطهادِ

لم أكن يومًا اثيمًا لم أخن يومًا نظاما

انما حب بلادي في فؤادي قد اقاما


mgb said...

And I forgot to include this link to an a capella performance of two verses. Not sure who the singer is but it could be Fairooz