1 June 2018

Sudan: Selected Poems - Departure On Fatima's Voice

The Sudanese most prominent translator al-Sir Khidir has recently published a book entitled "Modern Sudanese Poetry" containing a number of selected poems translated by him into English.

The following poem was written by poet Mohamed Abduhai titled Departure On Fatima's Voice:


Lovely one and stop those who are leaving

For their homeland.

The Nile and my kinsmen's boat have slept

Who would speak of my yearning to Fatima's village?

The palanquins were halted in their tracks by a tune...

A tune lost in the sand,

And no caravan - chanter sang.

Who would tell Fatima, the -pagan,

The marginal news:

This is a time of distortion and fear

And the metallic tedium which burst out from

The heart, the voice and the memory.

O sacred rites of singing,

Let us depart, dancing to beat

Of the melodious tune of the charming singer,

On whose serene strings sleep the downtrodden,

The drunkards - the singers

Fatima, the villager, sleeps through the dream

Of the warrior,


In lightening, thunder and the swirling rain.

The charming singer

Thrust her voice upon the Sahara

And on the rocks - in the marked street

In the tranquilized pause and the straying footsteps

Stop, lovely one,

And stop those who are leaving

For the boudoir of Fatima, the Bedouin.

Late is her wedding

The departees... ..

Slept on the sand.

The palanquins were halted in their tracks with dismay.

The necklace, unstrung,

And the backs of horses, broken.

O return, joyful.

Naked, dance Fatima, the African,

To the beats and sang, restrained.

Now is the moment for Fatima, the Bedouin to dance

The courtyard is open for all the women,

And my heart is enamored by singing.

I adore you, Fatima.

Your melodies

And the colours of your astonishment change,

Or your sad tears

Drown the hum of passion,

Or your ardent rhythm is spent,

As the whore singer's voice spills over,

And this brazen singer

Seeks to seduce me and saying:

"For you I stopped the music"

But my memory

Is assailed from all sides

O you who are leaving

For your motherland, the Nile

My kinsmen's boats have slept.

Stop and spread out

The scarf of Fatima the Bedouin

On the sand

Or hang

The robes of Fatima, the African

On the rising sun.

The sun is approaching.

So stand up,

O the downtrodden, stand up

And carry me away on her voice


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