Nizar Sartawi

Land Of The Vineyards

Rahovec O Rahovec
blessed child of Dardania  
to you I came
with my naïve poems
and simple dreams.

And there I was… in your bosom
as my eyes wandered
among the hills 
and vales 
that girded your slim waist
with vineyards –
the vineyards
where the Maenads dwelt  
and turned every vine
into a little shrine. 

My eyes fell
on the hanging grapes
that glittered like pearls
under the September sun

And there and then
I found me drunken,  
and the whole world turning
before my eyes
into a giant poem

The Wind And The Olive Tree

The vengeful wind of autumn roared
at the olive tree:
“I’ve come again
for you old witch
I’ll unravel your dark green dress,
stitch by stitch 
I’ll break your limbs
I’ll crush your bones
until the skies hear your moans
I’ll spill you blood
until the dry dirt in these fields
turns into mud.”

“I know,”
 replied the thick rough trunk,
“you told me so
twelve months ago.”

The Little Kumquat Shrub

Green gorgeous child 
standing shyly
amidst your tall proud sisters
and cousins! 

Loosen your loin
Let the moist soil
send up
into your veins
the fluids of love 

Spread your soft limbs
Let the August sun 
toughen your tender boughs
Let his beams
polish your leaves with light!

Open your dainty white blossoms
Let the bees 
whisper to them the secrets of life

For soon you will be
a little woman
with emeralds green
waiting for the fall
to show their golden glory

Broken Olive

a bleeding branch 
of a maimed
olive tree
lying beside
the road

a stranger
passing by
asks: WHY?

a crowd
of angry faces 
in dismay

four men in a jeep
watching silently
fingers on the triggers

and from above
a lonely dove
an olive leaf

Nizar Sartawi

Nizar Sartawi is a poet, translator, essayist, and columnist. He was born in Sarta, Palestine, in 1951. He is a member of numerous literary and cultural organizations, including the Jordanian Writers Association (Jordan), General Union of Palestinian Writers (Palestine), and General Union of Arab Writers (Cairo), and Asian and African Writers Union. He has participated in poetry readings and international forums and festivals in numerous countries, including Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Egypt, Kosovo, and India. Sartawi’s poems have been translated into more than a dozen languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Danish, Chinese, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Odia, Gujarati, and Malayalam. His poetry has been published in more than 40 anthologies, in addition to journals and newspapers, in Arab countries, the U.S., Australia, Kosovo, Indonesia, Singapore, Bosnia, Italy, India, the Philippines, Russia, Switzerland, and Taiwan.  Sartawi has published more than 25 books of poetry and poetry translations. He has written introductions to a number of books in both Arabic and English. Sartawi was awarded the first prize in translation by Al-Nour Literary Organization in 1913, and Naji Naaman Award for Creativity in 2017. For the last seven years, Sartawi has been working on poetry translation from English to Arabic and Arabic to English. This includes his Arabic poetry translation project, “Arab Contemporary Poets Series”.  He also has translated poems for a large number of modern and contemporary international poets from numerous countries of the world.