Nass El Ghiwane: The Sheepskin (1st
Translated by Mohammed Najmi and Doug Davis
Servants of the idol money, stone-hearted
Thoughtless hearts full of treachery
You chained up the graves … here’s truth … and here’s falsehood
The moss on the rock complained of being troubled by the ocean
And the strong wind deserted the lightning and thunder
Between the mute stone and the blazing fire …
The hot wind grew calm
This one is goaded on … this one is unmoved
There’s no cure for this
I added 10, and 10, I knew how much it equals
This is the 20th century
We’re living the life of the fly in the sheepskin
There’s the huge difference between apples and pomegranate
What’s the difference between you … and you … and me?
 3bid Snk l-m3bud ya glub l5jar
Omar Sayyid footnotes “Snk, i.e. l-mal.” Snk is the tax paid on a transaction at the suq, so the sense might be “slaves who worship profit, as in.“the all-mighty dollar.”
 glub Taysha maliana bil-ghdar
 Silsiltu l-9bbur … ha l7aq wa ha lmnkur
 I5j ls5r mn hm lb7r shka
 wa lriya7l3aSfa hzrat lbr9 wa lr3d
 ma bin S5rat jamda wa 3wafi zanda
 l-Shd lri7 hamda
 hada b-mhmaz ynghz … hada ma-yrd 3alia
 la dwa ydawi
 7sbt 3shra wa 3shra 3rftha sh7al tsawi
 l9rn l3shrin hada
Najmi suggests that the allusion here is 21 of the quatrains of Majdoub, about the 14th century in the Muslim calendar.
3aishin 3isha ldbana fi lbTana
“lebTana” is the fresh a sheepskin, as if after 3id lkbir, which is left to the flies.
 rah lfr9 3thim bin ltfa7 wa rmana
 wash min fr9 bin nta … wnta … wana?