Words Adorned

Kareem Roustom composer
Kinan Abou-afach composer

The Crossing | Donald Nally conductor
Al-bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury music director
Dalal Abu Amneh soloist

Release Date: July 9, 2021
Catalog #: NV6356
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music
Voice

The Grammy-winning professional chamber choir The Crossing, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, and Navona Records present WORDS ADORNED. Conducted by Donald Nally, with Takht musical direction by Hanna Khoury, the combined forces interpret lush scores from Kinan Abou-afach and Kareem Roustom; the music is at times driven and passionate, at others mystical and lyrical, responding to ancient Andalusian poetry in the Muwashshah tradition. The takht – masterfully handling the oud, qanun, violin, cello, and percussion – guides the kaleidoscopic sounds and colors in these poems of love, revelry, and war, with additional solo work by the virtuosic singer Dalal Abu Amneh. True to their commitment to honor tradition while constantly blazing new ground, The Crossing’s latest offering is steeped in history, deeply relevant to modern listeners, and bridges cultures seamlessly.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Embroidered Verses: No. 1, Oh People of Andalusia, What Beauty You Have (Live) Kareem Roustom The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 5:24
02 Embroidered Verses: No. 2, Arise Oh Drinking Companion (Live) Kareem Roustom The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 3:55
03 Embroidered Verses: No. 3, Oh People, Stop and Wonder (Live) Kareem Roustom The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 3:51
04 Embroidered Verses: No. 4, Tell the Enemy (Live) Kareem Roustom The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 5:54
05 Of Nights and Solace: No. 1, Prelude. Moonrise (Live) Kinan Abou-Afach The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 2:37
06 Of Nights and Solace: No. 2, Greet These Faces (Live) Kinan Abou-Afach The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 5:48
07 Of Nights and Solace: No. 3, Forsaken (Live) Kinan Abou-Afach The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 7:53
08 Of Nights and Solace: No. 4, Interlude (Live) Kinan Abou-Afach The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 2:37
09 Of Nights and Solace: No. 5, You Who Left and Passed (Live) Kinan Abou-Afach The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 5:16
10 Of Nights and Solace: No. 6, Sunrise (Live) Kinan Abou-Afach The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 1:44
11 When He Appeared (Live) Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Rahim Al-Maslub The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor; Al-Bustan Takht | Hanna Khoury, music director; Dalal Abu Amneh, soloist 3:52

THE CROSSING
Jessica Beebe . Karen Blanchard . Steven Bradshaw . Veronica Chapman-Smith . Jeffrey Cutts . Colin Dill . Robert Eisentrout . Ryan Fleming . Joanna Gates . Steven Hyder . Michael Jones . Heather Kayan . Heidi Kurtz . Frank Mitchell . Maren Montalbano . Rebecca Myers . Rebecca Oehlers . James Reese . Elisa Sutherland . Daniel Schwartz . Rebecca Siler . Julie Snyder . Daniel Taylor . Jackson Williams

Donald Nally conductor

Dalal Abu Amneh soloist

Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble
Hanna Khoury violin and music director
Wassim Odeh oud
Hicham Chami qanun
Kinan Abou-afach cello
Hafez Kotain percussion

Recorded December 4, 2015 at Goodhart Hall, Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr PA
Live Sound Assistant Jonathan Orose
Recording Assistant James Clark Conner
Recorded, Mixed, Edited & Mastered by Joe Hannigan at Weston Sound

Artwork by Ashley Choukeir – ashleychoukeir.com

THE RECORDING was made and originally released as part of an Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture multimedia project inspired by Andalusian poetry, with a series of events and newly commissioned works bridging the traditions of East & West. This re-release on Navona Records is produced by Jonathan Bradley, Donald Nally, and Kevin Vondrak. Major support for WORDS ADORNED has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Arab Fund for Arts & Culture and the William Penn Foundation.

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF AL-BUSTAN SEEDS OF CULTURE
Omar Harb, Chair
Regina Morgan, Treasurer
Lisa Denberry, Secretary
Tony Abraham
Veronica Aplenc
Mark Dato
Huda Fakhreddine
Georgette Hamaty
Sara Hasan
Mohannad Ghawanmeh

THE STAFF OF AL-BUSTAN SEEDS OF CULTURE
www.albustanseeds.org
Mohannad Ghawanmeh, Executive Director
David Heayn-Menendez, Director of Public Education
Bridget Peak, Programs Coordinator
Sahiti Bonam, Marketing Coordinator

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CROSSING
Kelly Ann Bixby
Phil Cooke
Micah Dingler
Shawn Felton
Tuomi Forrest – Vice President
Mary D. Hangley
Lisa Husseini
Cynthia A. Jarvis
Mary Kinder Loiselle
Michael M. Meloy
Donald Nally
Eric Owens
Pam Prior – Treasurer
Andrew Quint
James Reese
Kim Shiley – President
Carol Loeb Shloss – Secretary
John Slattery
Elizabeth Van de Water

THE STAFF OF THE CROSSING
Jonathan Bradley, Executive Director
Shannon McMahon, Operations Manager
Kevin Vondrak, Assistant Conductor & Artistic Associate
Paul Vazquez, Sound Designer
Katie Feeney, Grant Manager
Elizabeth Dugan, Bookkeeper
Ryan Strand, Administrative Assistant

The Crossing is represented by Alliance Artist Management
www.allianceartistmanagement.com

COME. HEAR. NOW.
www.crossingchoir.org

General Manager of Audio & Sessions Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

The Crossing

Choir

The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally, is committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir that explore and expand ways of writing, singing, and listening to choral music. Many of its nearly 100 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues.

Learn More
Donald Nally

Donald Nally

Conductor

Donald Nally conducts The Crossing, the internationally acclaimed, GRAMMY Award-winning professional choir that commissions, premieres, and records only new music. He holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music at Northwestern University where he is director of choral organizations. Donald has served as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and for many seasons at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He has commissioned over 120 works and, with The Crossing, has produced 20 recordings, winning two GRAMMY Awards.

Learn More
Al Bustan Seeds of Culture

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

Organization

Rooted in Arab arts and language, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture offers artistic and educational programming that enriches cross-cultural understanding and celebrates diversity. “Al-Bustan,” Arabic for “The Garden,” serves youth and adults of all ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds, while supporting the pursuit and affirmation of Arab American cultural identity and playing a constructive civic role within broader American society. www.albustanseeds.org

Dalal Abu-Amneh

Dalal Abu-Amneh

Singer

Dalal Abu-Amneh is a singer, producer, neuroscientist, and a mother of two. Born in Nazareth in 1983, Abu-Amneh has been fascinated by both science and music since being a little child. Abu-Amneh has gained fame and praise for her ability to perform a wide variety of different musical styles, while crafting a global Palestinian identity through her music.

Abu-Amneh also produced all of her musical projects including her three albums: An Balady, Ya Sitti, and Nur. She emphasizes the value of musical heritage and glorifies the role of old women in preserving folklore through integrating them into her musical projects.

Photo credit: Chip Colson

Kareem Roustom

Kareem Roustom

Composer

Syrian-American Kareem Roustom is an Emmy-nominated composer whose genre crossing collaborations include music commissioned by conductor Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as projects with pop icons Shakira and Tina Turner, and with acclaimed British choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh.

Known for his orchestral works, Roustom’s music has been performed by ensembles including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Boulez Ensemble, the Deutsch Oper Berlin, The Crossing, the Kronos Quartet, Lorelei Ensemble, A Far Cry, and at renowned festivals and halls such as the BBC Proms, the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Verbier Festival, the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He has been composer-in-residence at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming, and with the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen in Germany. Roustom’s music has also been recorded by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester (Berlin), and the Philharmonia Orchestra (London). Current commissions include a large-scale orchestral work for the Malmö Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), and a trumpet concerto for the Düsseldorfer Symphonkier.

Photo credit: John Robson

Kinan Abou-Afach

Kinan Abou-Afach

Composer

Kinan Abou-Afach is a cellist, oud player, composer, and recipient of the Pew Fellowship in 2013. The Syrian-born musician began his musical studies at the age of seven studying at the Arabic Institute of Music in Damascus, where he eventually joined the National Syrian Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Middle Eastern Ensemble.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in cello and oud performance from the Higher Institute of Music where he studied with Fayez Zahril-Din, Rasi Abdullaiev, and Valery Volkov. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from DePaul University where he studied with Stephen Balderston.

Abou-afach composes music that is saturated with unique scales, rhythmic grooves, and improvisation-esque progressions. He works on creating a sound that is based loosely on the Arabic modal traditions known as maqam, while using elements from the western traditions (classical, jazz, electronic, musique concrète). He has composed for concert, film, live theater, and live visual art including notable commissions performed by Grammy Award-winners Jason Vieaux and The Crossing; The Long Night, a film directed by Hatem Ali; Haunted by Liwaa Yazigi for Windy Clinard Dance Theater Jondo Portraits; and the 2014 film Maskoon. Recent works also include Nomads for Cello and String Quartet, Exodus for Brass Sextet, Munajat for SATB and cello, and Speak for Orchestra.

Abou-afach has performed as a soloist and ensemble musician throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America with musicians and ensembles such as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Youssou N’dour, Concertante de Chicago, and the Ducati Piano Trio as well as conductors and soloists including Solhi Al-Wady, Daniel Barenboim, Cliff Colnot, Roberto Abbado, Sir Andrew Davis, Pinchas Zuckerman, and soloists like Yo-Yo Ma, Alex Klein, and Larry Combs.

Notes

Kareem Roustom — Embroidered Verses: Songs on Andalusian Poetry
Translations by Ahmad Al-Mala

Commissioned by Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture with the support of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Premiered December 5, 2015 at Bryn Mawr College with the Al-Bustan Takht ensemble, directed by Hanna Khoury, and The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally.

Embroidered Verses is a work that is steeped in tradition but also looks ahead. Tradition is a troublesome word when it comes to music. There is often this sense that there is a ‘purity’ to it. However, even a cursory investigation will show that any tradition is anything but pure. Rather, it is an amalgamation of, what was at some point, current practices that built on past practices and added to them. So, this is the sense of tradition that I hoped to imbue in my Embroidered Verses. The work is cast in four movements and each is based on a poem that is based on a theme that was common in the muwashshah. The first text is a descriptive text dealing with nature and extolling the beauty of Al-Andalus. The second text is simply a drinking song. However, it is a text that has already been set to music and is a well-known muwashshah by Aleppan composer Omar Al-Batsh, Qum Ya Nadim or Arise oh Drinking Companion. This re-setting of already-set text to new music is also part of the tradition and is a nod to Aleppo’s rich musical heritage. The third text is a love poem composed by a poetess, Umm Al-Kiram, and the final text is a war-themed poem. Each setting tries to give a sense of the text but also pushes it to its emotional limits. The settings also showcase the virtuosic capabilities of the takht (Arabic chamber group composed of oud, qanun, violin, cello, and percussion) and requires the choir to sing intricate harmonies as well as long embellished lines that use quarter tones.

Poet: Ibn Khafāja (1058 – 1138 -9 CE), Alzira

Ya ‘ahla ‘andalusen lilāhi darrukumu
mā’un wa ẓilun wa ‘ashjārun wa ‘anhāru
mā jannatul khuldi ‘illa fī diyārikum
wa law takhyartu hadhā kuntu ‘akhtāru
lā takhtashu ba’dahā an tadkhulu saqaran
fa laysa tudkhalu ba’dal jannati nāru.

Oh, people of Andalusia,
What how blessed you are
Water, shade, trees, and rivers
There is not an everlasting heaven
except in your lands,
and if the choice was mine
this is what I would choose.
So, do not fear going to hell after this,
For there is no entrance to hell
after having been in heaven.

يا أهل أندلس لله دركم
ماء وظل وأشجار وأنهار
ما جنة الخلد إلا في دياركم
ولو تخيرت هذا كنت أختار
لا تختشو بعدها أن تدخلوا سقراً
فليس تدخل بعد الجنة النار

Poet: Anonymous

Qum ya nadīm ‘imla wa hīm dawer aqdāḥī
al-laylu ṭāl wal ḥibbu ‘āl ‘ilas ṣabāḥi
maḥlal wiṣāl wel ‘ittiṣāl ma’-’al milāḥi
rākhīl shu’ūr yaḥkil budūr zahral aqāḥi

Arise, oh drinking companion,
drink your fill and fall in love
pass around my wine goblets
The night has grown long and love speaks so
till the coming of dawn.
How sweet it is to unite and be
with those of beauty
with tranquil feelings telling the moons
of the coming bloom.

قم يا نديم أملا و هيم دور أقداحي
الليل طال و الحب قال إلى الصباح
محلا الوصال و الإتصال مع الملاح
راخي الشعور يحكي البدور زهر الأقاح

Poetess: Umm Al-Kirām 11th century CE, Almeria

Yā ma’shara al-nāsi alā fa’jabū
mimma janathu law’a tul ḥub bi
lawlā hu lam yanzel bi badri dujā
min ufquhil ‘ulwiyī litturbi
ḥasbī bimen ‘ahwāhu law ‘annahu
fāraqanī tāba‘uhu qalbi

People, can you stop and wonder
at the gains of love’s ardor:
without it,
the moon of the dark
would not descend
from the highest horizons to the Earth
It’s enough for the one I love, that if
he abandons me
my heart will follow him.

يا معشر الناس ألا فاعجبوا
مما جنتـه لوعـة الحـبّ
لولاه لم ينزل ببـدر الدجى
من أفقه العلــوي للتُربِ
حسبي بمن أهواه لو أنــه
فارقني تابعـــه قلبـي

Poet: Muhamad bin abada al-qazaz 11th century CE, Almeria

Qul lil’idā qul salla seyfeyhi
dīnul hudā min ‘azmi malkeyhi
wa ‘akadā wudda muḥibbeyhi
shamlun nuẓem
ḥablun ‘uqed
bunyān
lā tanhadem
lahul ‘abad
‘arkan
*
kullul ‘anām bithāka ya’taddu
fafil kirām kilāhuma fardu
‘innal ḥa mām fi’eykihā tash dū

qul, hal ‘ulem
‘aw hal ‘uhed
‘awkān
kal mu’taṣem
wal mu’taḍded
malkān

Tell the enemies, tell them, “he unsheathed his two swords,”
(religion’s guidance is from the will of his two kings),
and he confirmed the love of his supporters.
The union is composed
the rope is tied:
a structure,
(Do not fall!)
Eternity is
its columns.
*
All the people, take pride in this
Among the generous, these two are one,
and the doves sing in their thickets:
has there been known,
has there been witnessed,
or has there been (anyone)
like Al-Mu’tasim
and Al-Mu’tadid
Two kings!

قل للعدى قل سلّ سيـْفيْهِ
دين الهدى من عزم ملْكيْهِ
وأكـــــــدّا ودّ محبّيْـــــــهِ
شمل نظمْ
حـبل عقدْ
بـــــــنيانْ
لا تــنهدمْ
لـــه الأبدْ
أركـــــانْ
*
كلّ الأنـام بــــــذاك يعتدُّ
ففي الكرام كــــلاهما فردُ
إن الحـمامْ في أيكها تشدو
قل هل علمْ
أو هل عهدْ
أو كـــــــانْ
كالمعتصـمْ
والمعتضـدْ
ملكــــــــانْ

Kinan Abou-afach — Of Nights And Solace: Fantasia on Andalusian Muwashshah Poetry
Translated by Ahmad Almallāh

Commissioned by Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture with the support of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Premiered December 5, 2015 at Bryn Mawr College with the Al-Bustan Takht ensemble, directed by Hanna Khoury, and The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally.

As is commonly said in Arabic literary tradition, “The poet is entitled to what others are not.” /
يحق للشاعر ما لا يحق لغيره,

This is not a surprise when we look at the pre-Islamic era (Al-Jahiliyya) in the Arabian Peninsula, where poets were the “rockstars” and tribes used to celebrate having a poet among them, for the power of words that they possess, and the entertainment value that they provide. When looking into the classical poetry from the pre-Islamic era until Islam’s Golden Age, it is fascinating how much passion can be skillfully embedded in a single verse of poetry. The Andalusian era wasn’t an exception, poetry was still a valid art form, and entertainment was definitely needed in the society. That is, among other reasons, why the muwashshah developed and flourished during that era. The same powerful/meaningful words, but in modified rhythmic meters (buhur) and forms are used to make a poem that fits in musical sung form: a hint to the Verse-Chorus form.

Of Nights and Solace: A Fantasy on Andalusian Poetry is a virtual trip to Andalusia, a dive into love, passion, and beauty: love and lament for parting with a beloved one as in the first poem by Ibn Zuhr; love and tearful longing for the Creator, almost reproachful, by Sufi poet/philosopher Ibn Arabi; undeclared love and the difficulty of keeping this love in Ibn Isa Al-Khabbaz’s poem; a beautiful rhythmic poem by Al-Qazzaz, like a word play; and Sahl Bin Malik’s poem which gives a beautiful image about sunrise. It is as if the whole piece is telling a story that begins at sunset and ends at the break of day, featuring multiple characters, progressing from classical muwashshah style to a broken form that still hints to the muwashshah.

Musically speaking, it was hard to imagine this composition without the use of harmony and polyphony. Although harmony is usually not used in traditional Arab music, when quarter-tones are used with the right voicing it creates a very pleasant mass of sound. Polyphony is more forgiving, and the structure of Arabic Maqams (scales) welcomes something that is close to poly-tonality (when using Maqam’s ajnas simultaneously). The piece uses a wide range of harmonic styles, from simple to a complex/thick texture to reflect the mood of the piece, and has a canon-like section that begins and ends the piece along with a fugue in the middle of the piece.

Poet: Ibn Zuhr al-Hafīd b. 1110-11 CE, Seville

ḥayyī-l wujūha-l milaḥā,
wa ḥayyī nujla-l ‘uyūnī.
hal fī-l hawá min junāḥi?
aw fī nadīmin wa rāḥi?

rāma-n naṣūhu salāḥī.
wa kayfa arjū şalāḥā
bayna-l hawá wa-l mujūni.

yā rāḥilan lam yuwaddi’.
raḥalta bi-l unsi ajmi’.
wa-l ‘ajzu yu’ṭi wa yamna’:

marrū,
wa akhfū-r ruwāḥā siḥran
wa mā wadda‘ūnī.

Greet these beautiful faces,
Greet these big-wide eyes.
Could there be sin in love?
Could there be sin in wine and its companion?

The one who gives me advice seeks my salvation.
But how can I wish for salvation
when I am in-between my love for love and the love of drinking.

You journeyed away without goodbyes.
You parted away with all.
Helplessness gives and prevents:

My lovers passed,
hiding their passing at dawn
without goodbyes.

Poet: Muhyi Ibn al-Arabi b. 1165 CE, Murcia

‘indamā laḥa li’aynī-l muttakā
dhubtu shawqan lilladhī kāna ma’ī.
ayyuha-l baytu-l atīqu-l mushrifu:
jā’aka-l ‘abduḍ-ḍa‘īfu-l musrifu

‘aynuhu bid-dam’i shawqan tadhrifu
ghurbatan minhu wa makran fa-l bukā
laysa maḥmūdan idhā lam yanfa’i

ayyuha-s sāqī-sqinī lā ta’tali
falaqad at‘aba fikrī ‘ādhilī
wa laqad anshadahu mā qīla lī

ayyuha-s sāqī ilayka-l mushtakà
ḍā‘ati-sh shakwà idhā lam tanfa’i

When the resting place came in sight
I dissolved in longing for the one I was with.
I call upon this old abode, looming:
There comes to you a servant weak and wasteful.
His eyes, flowing with the tears of longing.
But how can there be praise for a weeping,
when weeping brings no benefit.

“O you who pours the wine”
Pour me a drink, and do not be weary of me.
My thoughts made him tired,
the one who blames me.

“O you who pours the wine
to you are my complaints”
But complaints are lost when complaints bring no benefit

Poet: Abu al-Walid Yūnis bin ‘īsà al-Khabbaz

yā man ‘adā wa ta’addá
law kuntu amliku ṣabrī

katamtu ‘anka-l ladhī bī
fa’nta tadrī wa tadrī

hayhāta katmu-l gharāmi
ṣa’bun ‘alá man yarūmo

wa habka anna malāmī
yudīmuhu man yudīmo.

mādhā ‘ala-l mustahāmi
filḥubbi mimman yalūmo.

nadhartu li-l lāhi ṣiyāma shahrini
wa ‘ashri

lammā arāka habībī
mā bayna ṣadrī wa naḥrī

You who left and passed,
If only I owned my patience

I kept my love from you,
while you pretended not to know, though you know.

Love is impossible to hide
and difficult for those who seek it

Can you consider how the blame
I get for loving you never ends.

Though what has one, lost in love,
done wrong to be blamed.

I swore to god that I would fast
one month
and ten day

Maybe I’ll be granted to see you my love
close to my chest,
in front of my eyes.

Poet: Muḥammad ʿUbāda al-Qazzāz b. 902 CE

badru tamm
shamsu ḍuḥà
ghusnu naqā
misku shamm

mā atamm
mā awḍaḥa
mā awraqā
ma anamm

lā jarama
man lamaḥā
qad ‘ashiqā
qad ḥaram

fa-l wiṣāl
mā qad khalā
min amalin
fā’iti

wa-l khayāl
mā qad ‘alà
min nafasin
khāfiti

a full moon
a morning sun
a straight young branch
a beautiful scent

isn’t full
isn’t clear
didn’t sprout
didn’t waft

it must be
that he who glimpsed,
is in love
and deprived

companionship
is what is free
of any past hope

and imagination
is the loudness
of a soft respiration

Poet: Abu al-Hasan Sahl bin Mālik

kuḥlu-d dujà yajrī
min muqlati-l fajri
‘alà-ṣ ṣabāḥ

wa mi’ṣami-n nahri
fī ḥulalin khuḍri
‘alà-l biṭāḥ

The black of night runs
From the eye of dawn
Upon the break of day

Upon the river’s wrist
In garments of green
It runs upon the valleys.