Mohammad al-Maghout’s satirical works portrayed the social misery that seems to be the lot of the people of the Arab nations. His works were fiercely critical of the ethical decline of the rulers of the region to the extent that it is a wonder that he died a natural death.
Al-Maghout, the Syrian poet and playwright, passed away last week, after a life long struggle to eradicate both the social in-justice and the archaic way of life that ails us.
Among his works are plays like “Tishreen’s Village”, “Shaka’ek al-Nu’man” and the movie “al Hudoud” starred by Doureid Lahham.
A sample of his writing:
The Postman’s Fear*
send me all you’ve seen
of horror and weeping and boredom…
Fisherman on every shore, send all you know
of empty nets and whirling seas…
Peasants in every land,
send me all you have
of flowers and old rags,
of torn breasts,
and wrenched-out fingernails.
Send them to my address
in any cafe on any street in the world:
I am preparing a huge portfolio
on human suffering
to present to God
as soon as it is signed by the lips of the hungry
and the eyelids of the waiting.
But oh, you miserable ones everywhere,
I have a fear that
God may be “illiterate”.
Update: From Nouj, in his memory, the following , by W. H. Auden:
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.”