Like somebody from Damascus that is passing through Andalucía

The mother of all flamenco is solea. A song of loneliness and solitude. The dancer dances to this not express her feeling but simply to console herself. After the bitterness and anger had worn off. Beyond sadness and devastation. You find a way to endure and go on. All on your own. So I went through the list of all poems about loneliness that I know off. This particular poem by Mahmoud Darwish stood out. I translated it English. And incorporated it into the choreography that I create it.
To dance is to tell a story without words. To write a novel is to make words dance off the page with elegant eloquence as to mesmerize the reader’s heart. To be a dancing author is to be cursed to an endless pursuit of two extreme and impossible opposites.
Here is my poem of poems about loneliness.

Like somebody from Damascus that is passing through Andalucía
Flamenco solea performance inspired by the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish
Dance: Elen Ghulam
Guitar: Rod Malkin
Singer: Jafelin Helten
Poetry Recitation: Michelle Harding

At the Wise Hall in Vancouver BC

Here is the poem that inspired the dance

like somebody from Damascus that is passing through Andalucía
By Mahmood Darwish
Translation By Elen Ghulam


When I pass through your name
I feel like somebody from Damascus that is passing through Andalucía
Lonely with my breath
Here is where the lemons lit up for you the salt of my blood
Over here
Right here
Is where the wind fell off my horse

When I pass through your name
There is no army holding a siege
No country
As if I am the last of the guards
or a poet taking a leisurely walk through his poem.

In Damascus, the sky walks along roads
and barefoot
Inspiration, rhyme and rhythm
are rendered useless


Here is the poem in Arabic in case you need to see the original.

أمر باسمك إذ أخلو إلى نفس
كما يمرّ دمشقي بأندلسي
هنا أضاء لك الليمون ملح دمي
وهاهنا وقعت ريح عن فرسي

أمر باسمك لاجيش يحاصرني
ولابلاد كأنني آخر الحرس
أو شاعر يتمشّى في قصيدته.

في دمشق تطير الحمامات
خلف سياج الحرير
اثنتين ثنتين
في دمشق ارى لغتي كلها على حبة قمح مكتوبة
بأبرة انثى ينقحها حجر الرافدين.

في دمشق تطرز أسماء خيل العرب
من الجاهلية حتى القيامة أو بعدها
بخيوط الذهب
في دمشق تسير السماء على الطرق القديمة
حافية حافية
فما حاجة الشعراء الى الوحي و الوزن و القافي


Thumbnail image for this video by Elvira Yebes

There is a story behind the dress in the video. I saw it in a store for $700, tried it on, fell in love with it, wanted it, but then didn’t buy it because of the price. Then I saw the same exact dress, in my size at a second hand store for $60 …. can you believe it? That dress wanted me as much as I wanted it.
If you found this exploration of poems about loneliness interesting, you might want to read about my attempt at translating one of Mahmoud Darwish’s seductive poems: called Lesson in Kama Sutra.

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