Translated from Arabic by Mark Ford and Hafiz Kheir for The Poetry Translation Centre
I saw the angeland the singing birds slaughtered.I saw the horse,the soldiers,the grieving women,the dead trees, and other womeninured to screams and wailing.I saw the streets, the gusting wind,the sports carsracing by, the boats, the innocent kids.
I said, “Master of the Water, this ishow things are: tell me about the clay,the fire, the smoke, the shadows, the smellof reality.” Deliberately, I did not askabout our homes. [End Page 10]
Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi is widely considered one of the leading African poets writing in Arabic. He is famous in his native Sudan for the lyrical beauty of his poetry and for his brave insistence on the plural identities of his country. Born in 1969, he lived all his life in Omdurman until forced into exile by the Bashir dictatorship. He was granted asylum by the UK government and is now living in London.
Mark Ford was born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1962. He has published three collections of poetry, Landlocked, Soft Sift, and Six Children. He also has published a biography of the French writer Raymond Roussel, Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams, and a parallel text edition of Roussel’s final poem, Nouvelles Impressions d’Afrique (New Impressions of Africa). He is the editor of Why I’m Not a Painter and other poems, a selection of poems by Frank O’Hara; The New York Poets: an anthology; and, with Trevor Winkfield, New York Poets II: from Edwin Denby to Bernadette Mayer (Carcanet P).
Hafiz Kheir was born in 1968 in Khartoum, Sudan, and moved to the UK in 1992. He is a writer, translator, and a filmmaker. He is a graduate of the Film & Television School at The London Institute and he studied drama and theatre at the Youth Palace Omdurman Sudan.