Treasure Island

Antarah (Antar) Ibn Shaddad

(525 - 615 / Najd)

Antarah Pours Out His Heart


My sin against Ablah is beyond remission;
Became obvious when the morning of life
Lent streaks of its white shafts
To my hair, turning it gray.
My own Ablah pierced my heart with arrows,
Shot from her white-corona, black-iris eyes;
Accurately hitting the mark!
How amazing! Arrows projected from eyelids
With no string or bow, ever scoring, never missing
I have kept faith with my fellow tribesmen
Protected their honor
Often curbing my passion
For their playful and modest girls.
Such mild and gentle beauties!
Make tender branches envious
Of their graceful swaying, elegant swinging.

O dear Abode (of the Beloved),
Should the clouds withhold their rain from you,
Let my tears then pour down on you instead
O how pleasant the times I spent
In the land of Sharibba,
Enjoying myself in the company of
My friends and delicate women.
When the twig of my youth was soft and pliable,
How I amused myself,
Admiring its blossoms and streaks.
Everyday, the breeze of Sharibba
Comes to me laden with the sweet scent
Of fragrant flowers unfolding at dawn

Each (maiden), like a straight leafy branch;
A lover can only feast his eyes
On such beauty, (but not touch.)
I am ever anxious to see Ablah;
That is why I so often stop by her camp,
Water my camels then depart.
After being close to her, I can never content myself
With only a word about her,
Now she is far away

She will always remain my dearly beloved,
Even if she should betray my trust, forsake me.
My love for her will remain unchanged, undiminished,
Nor will I ever stop thinking of her.
Secretly and openly,
I bemoan my separation from her;
With such intensity of feeling
That softens the rocks
O Abla stay safe and be happy in the Sand Valley
Away from enemies; fear not even if frightened.
Know that your dwelling is protected
By lions with mighty swords
That smash iron helmets, slice thick armors.

How great are my folks Bani Abs!
They have reached the pinnacle of honor;
Attained the height of prestige
When they saw my horse
Charge unrestrained, beneath thick clouds of dust
They thought it was bringing me nigh to doom.
Then they quickly trod on my heels,
Knowing that death is an unavoidable arrow, deflecting never.
I plunged headlong into the dust-covered battleground,
Atop my pitch black charger;
Upon return, his body was blood covered,
With human remains to its skin attached

I endeavored to be fair to my opponent,
However, he wronged me,
Resorting to mean, devious means.
Finally, my sword dealt him a fair blow.
Should others taunt me
On account of the blackness of my skin,
Let them keep in mind
That precious pearls are in shells contained

Submitted: Monday, October 28, 2013
Edited: Monday, October 28, 2013

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