Poet Hameed AlQaed

 

Since his third year in Primary School, Hameed found himself full of a passion for reading; “I read a great many books, although I don’t really remember if someone actually encouraged or motivated me to read. But later, when I started searching for the person or people in my life who did indeed implanted in me this passion, I found that it was only me, and nobody else.”

 

 

Reading gave me the dream of becoming a writer or, more specifically, a poet. I started writing simple poems and short stories when I was in my last year at the Primary School. Since then, I have never stopped reading or writing and, in the late '60s, I started publishing my poems in the local newspapers.

 

In 1975, I published my first poetry collection titled: Lover in the Era of Thirst. It was all in Arabic. Many years later in 2003, I published my second poetry collection titled: Noise of Whisper. This book was published in both Arabic and English, translated by myself, and won the Book of Year Award in 2003, by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Ministry of Information.

 

In 2007, I published an anthology of Bahraini contemporary poetry titled: Pearls, Dreams of Shells. Published in USA by Howling Dog Press, it is a collection of poems from twenty-nine contemporary Bahraini poets, translated by myself into English, including an introduction on progress of poetry in Bahrain over the past 100 years. This book was generously financed by HE Shaikha Mai Al Khalifa, through Shaikh Ebrahim Center. It was revised by Dr. Muneera Al Fahdel and the American poet Thomas Sterner Howe.

 

Dancing Inside the Body
By Hameed AlQaed


Like stunning butterflies
Wagging in the wind
Having dialogue with the sea
In a fresh language
The seashore's turquoise flirts with it
Capturing the absent joy
In a hideout sleeping in the tunnel of heart
Dance
Oh, you the last group of lovers
Dance like Zorba
While crossing his universal alienation
Dancing is the sport of brokenhearted
Dance inside your bodies
Outside your bodies
The sorrows will turn into ashes
Perhaps to an orange
Or maybe to a sky that will
Paint us with its mercy
So the horizon becomes blue
Heart green
Dream purple
And my glasses drop from the bridge of my nose
With it the gloom will drop
My gloom is like crazy frogs
Jumping in my blood
Aggravated with the coloring of oceans
The deserts easily pass through my gloom
Distances also cross through it
A puzzle like fantasia
Its rope is long, boring
Like the stories of one thousand nights and night

 

***

 

Tonight I will put on the gown of seduction
I dance cleaved from my body
So maybe my possessed volcano could have a nap for a while
Inside me a carnation bloom
Some gypsy fish
And maybe mosses that could cure my damned luck
I will dance
Perhaps the sorrows will leak out from me
Until I become absent
Absent from myself
How strange the sorrow is when it rides a camel
How cruel when it becomes untranslatable
When it stones me with pebbles made by my own hands
Crashes me with guilt
How cruel is the pain
When it pushes the heart through a needle eye
Refuses to get out
Professional magicians
Rites of fortune-tellers and priests
Fail to remove it
Even a crazy pen

 

***

 

I will dance
We will continue dancing together
And dream
That the impossible will bloom and grow horses
And a sky that showers green rain

 

I have always believed that communication between nations creates love, peace and deeper understanding, and poetry is the ideal means to achieve this. I also believe that many conflicts in the world are due to miscommunication. This made me utilize my talents in translation in promoting such communication and consciously decided to take Bahrain poetry across the boarders, so that people around the world could hear and witness our creativity. I strongly believe that Bahrain is the natural spring of poetry; our poets are very talented and unique in the GCC countries, as well as in the Arab world.

 

I tried my best to broadly promote Bahraini poets through translating their poems. My anthology Pearls, Dreams of Shells received an overwhelming response in USA and Europe. The American poet, Thomas Sterner Howe, in his Foreword, expressed his cultural shock when he read Bahrain's poetry. I felt that he couldn’t believe that in this tiny, remote island in the Arabian sea, there are so many advanced, talented and open-minded poets.

 

Tree/I am
By Hameed AlQaed

 

Once I imagined I was a tree
Alone, flirting free
With the place around
Enjoying dialogue with time
And in a matchless purity
Embracing the whole world
Reaching toward a euphoric moment
And at night
It carved its sorrows
On the face of the sky
Walked on water
Initiated dialogue with salt in the wounds
It threw its weight upon the universe
a pile of lotus flowers
Skin upon the river’s grief

 

***

 

My heart is a tree
Embellished with glitter
Glory to the one who created it
The tree was fluent in all languages
Knew all names
But never revealed its secrets
Except to the wild birds
And to the violet space

 

***

 

Tree I am
Or this what I imagined
Resplendent in the fruits of heaven
Where birds slept
Without fear in my branches
To build cities
That lay without chains under the sun
To take rest
But the wind
Tore my magnificent fruit
Broke my bumpers
Suddenly I woke up
Found that self had escaped me
The streets forgotten their names
I destroyed my papers
Tossed memory to the wind
...flowed toward the light
Glowing from the end of the heart

 

In 2010, I published my third poetry collection titled: Alienation of Violets, also bilingual. In 2015 my fourth collection of poetry titled: Nothing Matters Any More was published by Bahrain Writers Association through the Directorate of Culture.

 

It has always been my dream to write a novel, and to have the opportunity to express myself in a wider way. My plan was to create a link between poetry and novel, i.e. write a novel in a poetic style and therefore eliminate the boarders between these styles, and so in 2016, I published my first novel titled: Love Has Ashes. I am now writing my second novel titled: Path of Spider, which I believe is going to be totally different from my first novel, and an extremely exciting story.

 

Green Coffee
By Hameed AlQaed


The man sitting in the café
Drinking his cold coffee
Counting his days by the number of those dead
Suddenly he remembered that he had sunk in the cup
When he extended his hand to pull himself out
He realized that the lady with green eyes
Who was sitting in front of him
Had stolen his heart

 

There are also two poetry collections ready for publishing: Dancing Inside the Body and Rain Spray Astonishment, and another book titled: Light for Darkness, which is a collection of my essays published in local newspapers. I also have a weekly column in Akhbar Al Khaleej, a Bahrain local newspaper, called Glow of Writing, and have translated Nooran, a novel by Bahraini writer Farid Ramadan, in a joint graphic effort by the Bahraini artist Jamal A. Rahim.

 

My Poetry
By Hameed AlQaed

 

I will scatter my poems across the top of the mountain
That birds may eat them
Or lay my words upon the breast of a lady
To be eaten with kisses
I may yet feed them to sharks
To dogs
Perhaps shout them into the wind
But I will never sell them to you
And leave my bald head exposed to the sun

 

Furthermore, I recently discovered that the letters of Van Gogh to his brother Theo have not been professionally translated into Arabic. I loved the world of this troubled artist and his suffering; I found him a real artist who failed to sell enough of his paintings to cover even the simple needs of everyday living. Of course he never knew that his paintings will be one day worth millions. It was a very interesting experience for me to translate his letters and to get to know this artist deeply. I have recently published some of these letters in local newspapers and my plan is to complete the translation of his book, and then get it published.

 

Hameed AlQaed
Tel: + 973 3966 5726
E-mail: Alqaed2@gmail.com
Facebook: @hameed.alqaed
Instagram: @hameed.alqaed

 

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