Ode To The Poet Mohammed Ibn al Dhib al-Ajami
‘I may become impatient and stammer in my speech.’
The Koran, Surah 26, The Poets, Verse 13
‘Make me deserving of praise among posterity and count me among the heirs of the Blissful Garden.’
The Koran, Surah 26, The Poets, Verses 84-85
(N.J. Dawood translation, Penguin, London 2003)
The immense solitude, the open wound of the heart,
The book of the sea outside the prison,
The sky bluer than the soul, the stars which make
The nights more tender, and your pain more free.
Here, my eyes full of tears of friendship,
I read your fine poems and tremble with astonishment
Before the living grace of your words written in blood
Glorifying Man and hymning Liberty!
Friend of Beauty, child of the Doric muses,
Blessèd be your soul, blessèd be your passion
For those whom destiny, in its tragic fury
Crushes and humiliates and casts aside.
May austere time place upon your head
The luminous crown of the invincible and valiant!
Mohammed Ibn al-Dhib al-Ajami (b.1976); Qatari poet, Ambassador of the Worldwide Organisation Poetas del Mundo in his home country, was sentenced to life imprisonment for having criticised the Emir and praised the ‘Arab Spring’ which Doha encouraged in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria. Mohammed Ibn al-Dhib al-Ajami was tried for ‘inciting to overthrow the ruling system’, a charge which carries the death penalty. ‘It’s a scandalous miscarriage of justice!,’ his lawyer Naguib al-Naimi said angrily after the verdict was pronounced. The poet, who did not attend the hearing, has been held in solitary confinement for a year and no member of his family has been able to visit him.
The poets of the world demand that this great voice of Poetry be freed.