Once being a sea, I was overtaken by foggy moments, so complex to interpret, metamorphose me into a watery female that never rests but only on a strange shore that eliminates the anxieties of the world, it embraces the remains of my heart and comforts our one roots. It is an alliance that overwhelms me to its blue depth, trying to reassure me, clinging my shoulders by its waves until I melt in complete, full of childhood sound, I am struck by the thing that my memory doesn’t keep when I become a fish for it, perhaps I was a fish in the hands of some sea.
A prose poem by Zahrat Al-Nardin
Translated by me John Henry Smith…
Reading in “the Female of the Sea” by John Henry Smith
When words bustle with suggestion and rest in a suggestive entity or image, its connotations become more profound and prevail between the layers of the poem, which would in turn reflect a wide range of spirituality, vitality, emotive flow and implicit meaning. It attracts and affects the reader, who likely feels a similar state of mind and feeling as was undergone by the poet at the time of pouring or even deeper.
In this prose expressive poem, the “I” was a sea and the word sea has many connotations, it evokes in the reader’s mind and psyche aspects of vastness, swell, quietness, sound, fury, life and all other associated things. This “I” in all of sudden and at fuzzy moment was metamorphosed into a watery female, which signifies life in the sea to complete each other because a sea with no life is a dead sea; in that, it became a part of a whole: the watery female and the sea as a complementary binary, whose parts define each other. Yet, this creature is restless. It is looking for a strange shore that rids the world, certainly its world, of all anxieties. Not only this, it also embraces the remains of its heart, and here the word “remains” refers to the fact that the heart seems scattered and the embrace gathers its remains and returns it the one roots; all creatures are one since they came into being in the same way. Then the sea brings this “I” into its depth where its waves completely dissolve it to be unified in one entity with all the sound of childhood and at this very moment, it underwent another change which is in fact the same metamorphosis; a watery female = a fish. It became a fish. It, then, was struck by a thing that escapes the memory, it might be a passing afterthought that life began as a fish in some sea.
Lateef Shareef Dhmayd is an Iraqi poet and translator. He was born in Shatrah, a small town slumbering on the shoulder of Garaf River. It was, once, described by Bertram Thomas, the British political officer who was its ruler as the bride of Garaf for being beautiful and having a nice weather, and for being the granary of Mesopotamia altogether. He learned there and after finishing his high school. He moved to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, where he obtained his primary degree in translation. He, like his countrymen, loved poetry and started writing it when he was a student at Shatrah high school, where he was encouraged and appraised by his teachers. He has two poetry collections, not yet published. He has a lot of poems published on different poetry sites. He writes both in Arabic and English. He also translated a lot of poems by great Arab poets.