Savant ! Tell me ! Why with safety came fear ?

A Berber of Algeria called Si Mohand Um’hand [born 1845- died 1906] was a sufi poet.
His poetry would have been lost if it was not to some honourable men and women who preserved it.
A dignified singer and poet called Slimane Azem [born 1918 – died 1983], another Berber of Algeria, was one of those who brought him to life.
Here is an attempt to render one of his songs into English.

O you man of understanding,
Make me understand: why is it ?
What caused a mature fig to be inhabited by worms ?
On the outside, it was beautifully decorated,
Yet inside, when I opened it, it was rotten!

Make me understand o you of understanding,
Why [life] matters are so twisted ?
People witness someone do injustice,
Yet they bear [false] witness in his favour ?
The one who is patient keeps quiet,
Why wherever he goes, he is humiliated ?

Explain to me by meaning [symbolism],
You do not need to be literal
How is it that an eagle builds a nest,
Yet an owl comes and lives in it ?
Si Mohand Um’hand so said,
With safety came fear

How is it that one is so lucky,
That he does not need a template ?
Whatever he does he finds his way
Poor man carrying all that burden ! [needs checking]
The wheat that the bull had to work hard on,
Why did it end up food to the donkey ?

The blame that was directed to the wolf,
Was redirected to the rooster !
Whenever they find an excuse they eat it,
They say it makes too much noise !
Or when guests come,
All its affairs are sorted in one night

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s