When I love
I feel that I am the king of time
I possess the earth and everything on it
and ride into the sun upon my horse.
When I love
I become liquid light
invisible to the eye
and the poems in my notebooks
become fields of mimosa and poppy.
When I love
the water gushes from my fingers
grass grows on my tongue
when I love
I become time outside all time.
When I love a woman
all the trees
run barefoot toward me…
Nizar Qabbani came from the neighborhood of Jasmine in the city of Damascus, Syria. He was born in 1923. He studied Law at Damascus University and served as a diplomat till 1966. He opened a publishing house in Beirut later. He left Beirut after his wife, Balqis, was assassinated there. After that he lived in London till he died in 1998 from a heart attack. His body was moved to Damascus to be buried there as he requested.
Nizar Qabbani started writing poetry in the 1940s. His poetry was known for daring against taboos , renewal and being out of the Arabian poetry traditional standards. He, Qabbani, faced a violent campaign of criticism from critics, particularly the conservatives, because of his desire for renewal of poetry.
Ideas and Meanings in Nizar’s Poetry:
Nizar Qabbani made woman a pivotal subject for his poems where we can find most of his poetry addresses love. Nizar’s vision for women was contrary to his generation. His vision was known for daring, deep feelings and transparency. Nizar wrote extensively about the female body, and he didn’t leave any part undiscussed. He talked about women a lot in his poems because he believed greatly in free woman (physically and mentally), opposite of the common traditional vision in the masculine society. This attitude towards women made religious figures accuse him sometimes of obscenity, and sometimes of atheism. They, clergymen, considered his poetry a violation of the conservative customs and traditions, and they considered it too sexy, promoting debauchery.
Nizar Qabbani is considered one of the poets who had made governors and authorities angry because of his severe attacks against the dictatorship and totalitarianism of the ruling party. He didn’t make peace with any president and didn’t praise any president or sultan. Instead, he was an outspoken critic, revealing their corruption, dictatorship and tyranny.
Nizar was advocate of the progress thinking that cope with modernity and avoiding the common both in woman topics and other social topics.
Nizar’s Poetry Styles:
He is considered one of the renewers of poetic form.He wrote activate poems and he was a famous advocates for this new form. He saw that the soul of poetry can’t be expressed only through rigid poetic styles. Also, he thinks that the meters of older poetic forms can’t respond to life’s modern difficulties and we should find new poetry forms.
Nizzar used a new poetry dictionary that depends on the clear phrase, understood modern language that is not strange and not complicated. As well as, he used a language that is very close to the vernacular in his poetry and this made his poetry spread widely particularly among young people. Nizar’s styles is called spare and basic because of its beauty, clarity, expressed with feelings and emotions. Nizar wrote two books in English translation: Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts and On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani.
Hasan al-Nifi is a Syrian poet from Aleppo, Syria. He wrote volumes of poems in Arabic. He is also a writer and an Arabic language teacher. Currently, he lives in Gaziantep, Turkey.