Al Baraka

Before there was a hint of civilization
I carried a memory of your loose strand of hair,
Oblivious, I carried inside me your pointed tip of hair.

In its invisible realm,
Your face of sun yearned for epiphany,
Until each distinct thing was thrown into sight.

From the first instant time took a breath,
Your love lay in the soul,
A treasure in the secret chest in the heart.

Before the first seed shot up out of the rose bed of the possible,
The soul’s lark took wing high above your meadow,
Flying home to you.

I thank you one hundred times! In the altar
Of Hayati’s eyes, your face shines
Forever present and beautiful.
– Bibi Hayati

This is kind of a collective take going across North Africa into Persia, a compendium of sorts of sources from the Maghreb to points east. I was looking originally for tales of magic from North Africa, and Arabic women poets. Both are but a blip on the Internet sad to say. So, I built this up in the heat of a Sunday afternoon. Let me know if you liked it or not.

Hope this finds you and yours well, it is finally cooling down here, thankfully!

On The Menu:
Arab Proverbs
Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 8
The Jackal and the Farmer
Bibi Hayati: Beauty
Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 3

Arab Proverbs:
For the sake of the flowers, the weeds are watered.
Don’t eat your bread on someone else’s table.
Those who are far from the eye are far from the heart.
Blood can never turn into water.(a bond with family/relatives can never break)
Give the bread dough to the baker even if he eats half of it.
The one who is sinking,hangs to a straw.
Fire will burn itself out if it did not find anything to burn.

Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 8


North Africa Folk Tales (Kabyl)
The Jackal and the Farmer

A farmer plowed with two oxen from morning till eve. One evening a lion came and said, “Give me one of your two oxen or I’ll kill you and both of them.”
The farmer was terrified. He unspanned one of the oxen and gave it to the lion. The lion took it and carried it away. The farmer went home with the remaining ox and bought another one the same evening so that he would be able to plow again in the morning.

The next day the farmer plowed again from morning till eve, and when it was evening the lion came again and said, “Farmer, give me one of your two oxen or I’ll kill both of them and you into the bargain.”

Again the farmer gave him an ox. That evening he bought another ox so as to be able to plow again the next day. The next evening the lion came again and demanded still another ox. The farmer gave the lion an ox every evening. One evening the jackal came by as the farmer was driving his single ox home.

The jackal said, “Every morning I see you leave the farmyard with two oxen and every evening I see you coming back with only one. How does that happen?”

The farmer answered, “Every evening when I am finished with the day’s work the lion comes and demands one of my oxen and threatens to kill me and both oxen if I do not comply with his wish.”

The jackal said, “If you promise to give me a sheep I will free you from the lion.”

The farmer answered, “If you can free me from the lion I will gladly promise you a sheep.”

The jackal said, “Tomorrow I will call out in a disguised voice from up there on the hill and ask who is speaking with you. Then answer that it is only an Asko (a block of wood to be split). Have a hatchet ready. Have you understood me?”

The farmer said, “Certainly, I have understood you.”

The next day the farmer took a hatchet with him to the field and plowed as usual with the two oxen from morning till eve.

When it was evening the lion came and said, “Farmer, give me an ox or I shall kill both oxen and you as well.”

When the lion had said that a deep voice spoke from the hill and said, “Farmer, who speaks with you?”

The lion was afraid, ducked down, and said in a frightened voice, “That is god.”

But the farmer replied loudly, “It is only an Asko.”

The voice answered loudly, “Then take your hatchet and split the block of wood.”

The lion said softly, “But give me only a gentle blow, farmer.”

There at he bowed his head. The farmer gripped his hatchet and struck at the lion’s lowered skull with all his force so that he split it and the lion died.

The jackal came down from the hill and said, “I have done what I promised. The lion is done away with. Tomorrow I will come again and get the sheep which you have promised me.”

The farmer said, “You shall have it.”

The farmer came home. He said to his wife, “The jackal has freed me from the lion. Now I will give him a ram. I will kill it. Then you pack it up so that I can take it with me to the field tomorrow.”

The man killed the ram. As his wife was about to pack it up she said, “Why shouldn’t we eat the good ram ourselves?” She put the ram into a leather sack. She laid the leather sack in a wicker basket. But she told the house dog to lie down in the basket beside the leather sack. She said to the farmer, “If, perchance, the jackal does not take the ram in the course of the day, then bring it home again. Otherwise the other animals which have not helped you will eat it during the night. Set down the basket in the field just as it is and then let happen what will.”

The farmer went to the field. He put the basket down on the field and cried, “Jackal here is your ram.”

Then he went to his work without bothering himself further about the basket, the ram, or the jackal. The jackal, however, came to the basket in order to take out the ram. As he stuck his nose into the basket, up sprang the dog. The jackal ran away from there as quickly as he could. The dog ran after him for a while but when he saw that the jackal was really too fast he gave up and went home. The jackal swore never to help men again.

In the evening the farmer came. He looked into the basket and found the ram still untouched. So he picked up the basket again with the ram in it, brought it home, and said, “The jackal has not called for his ram. Now we can eat it ourselves!”
From Persia..
Bibi Hayati: Beauty…

Before there was a trace of this world of men,
I carried the memory of a lock of your hair,
A stray end gathered within me, though unknown.

Inside that invisible realm,
Your face like the sun longed to be seen,
Until each separate object was finally flung into light.

From the moment of Time’s first-drawn breath,
Love resides in us,
A treasure locked into the heart’s hidden vault;

Before the first seed broke open the rose bed of Being,
An inner lark soared through your meadows,
Heading toward Home.

What can I do but thank you, one hundred times?
Your face illumines the shrine of Hayati’s eyes,
Constantly present and lovely.

How Can I See The Splendor Of The Moon

How can I see the splendor of the moon
If his face shines over my heart,
Flaming like the sun?

The Turks in his eyes charge through my soul,
While untrue curling hair
Defeats faith.

Yet if he lifted the veil from his face,
The world would be undone,
The universe astounded.

He walks through the garden
With grace, erect,
His exquisite posture mocking even the straight cypresses.

He charges, riding his gnostic horse
Into the holy space of divinity,
The sacred sphere.

Tonight the Saki with its red-stained ruby lips
Pours wine for the luxury of every drunk,
And sates every reveler’s taste.

As Hayati has drunk his ecstasy,
Her soul now satisfied by the wine of his pure heart,
How can she drink any other nectar?

Is It The Night Of Power?

Is it the night of power
Or only your hair?
Is it dawn
Or your face?

In the songbook of beauty
Is it a deathless first line
Or only a fragment
copied from your inky eyebrow?

Is it boxwood of the orchard
Or cypress of the rose garden?
The tuba tree of paradise, abundant with dates,
Or your standing beautifully straight?

Is it musk of a Chinese deer
Or scent of delicate rosewater?
The rose breathing in the wind
Or your perfume?

Is it scorching lightning
Or light from fire on Sana’i Mountain?
My hot sigh
Or your inner radiance?

Is it Mongolian musk
Or pure ambergris?
Is it your hyacinth curls
Or your braids?

Is it a glass of red wine at dawn
Or white magic?
Your drunken narcissus eye
Or your spell?

Is it the Garden of Eden
Or heaven on earth?
A mosque of the masters of the heart
Or a back alley?

Everyone faces a mosque of adobe and mud
When they pray.
The mosque of Hayati’s soul
Turns to your face.

Tartit Touareg Mokubor – track 3

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