Al Atlal – The Ruins

I came across the translation of the famous Om Kalthoum classic, Al Atlal… The Ruins

This song is tragic, devastating, and incredibly rich with emotion and heart ache…” The only song ever written by the legendary Ibrahim Nagi, it is one of the most complicated and esoteric works of modern Arabic music and poetry! ” – from, Arabic Song Lyrics and Translation

Om Kalthoum – The Ruins, Translated by Chris

My heart, don’t ask where the love has gone
It was a citadel of my imagination that has collapsed
Pour me a drink and let us drink of its ruins
And tell the story on my behalf as long as the tears flow
Tell how that love became past news
And became another story of passion
I haven’t forgotten you
And you seduced me with a sweetly-calling and tender tongue
And a hand extending towards me like a hand stretched out through the waves to a drowning person
You seduced me with the saliva (of a kiss) that a night traveler thirsts for
But where is that light in your eyes?
My darling, I visited your nest one day as a bird of desire singing my pain
You’ve become self-important, spoiled and capricious
And you inflict harm like a powerful tyrant
And my longing for you cauterized my ribs (soul or insides)
And the waiting was like embers in my blood
Give me my freedom, release my hands
Indeed, I’ve given you yours and did not try to retain anything
Ah, your chains have bloodied my wrists
I haven’t kept then nor have they spared me
Why do I keep promises that you do not honor?
When will this captivity end, when the world is before us?
He is far away, my enchanting love
Full of pride, majesty and delicacy
Sure-footed walking like an angel with oppressive beauty and rapacious glory
Redolent of charm like the breeze of the hills
Pleasant to experience like the night’s dreams
I’ve lost forever the charm of your company that radiated brilliantly
I, wandering in love, a bewildered butterfly, approached you
And between us, desire was a messenger and drinking companion that presented the cup to us
Had love seen two as intoxicated as us?
So much hope we had built up around us
And we walked in the moonlit path, joy skipping along ahead of us
And we laughed like two children together
And we ran and raced our shadows
And we became aware after the euphoria and woke up
If only we did not awaken
Wakefulness ruined the dreams of slumber
The night came and the night became my only friend
And then the light was an omen of the sunrise and the dawn was towering over like a conflagration
And then the world was as we know it, with each lover in their own path
Oh sleepless one who slumbers and remembers the promise when you wake up
Know that if a wound begins to recover another wound crops up with the memory
So learn to forget and learn to erase it
My darling everything is fated
It is not by our hands that we make our misfortune
Perhaps one day our fates will cross when our desire to meet is strong enough
For if one friend denies the other and we meet as strangers
And if each of us follows his or her own way
Don’t say it was by our own will
But rather, the will of fate

 

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