The distant hills appear with their smooth reptilian undulations.
The infinitely crystalline transparencies reveal themselves in dim splendor. The shadows hold night in their tangles, and the city begins to shed its idle veils, rendering visible its cupolas and its ancient towers illuminated by a soft golden light.
The houses reveal faces with empty eyes among the verdure, and the grasses, poppies and vines dance entertainingly to the sound of the breeze from the sun.
The shadows are lifting and vanishing languidly, while in the air there is a piping of ocarinas and reed-flutes produced by the birds.
In the distance there are confusions of mist and heliotrope among the poplar groves, and now and then, in the dawn freshness, is heard a distant bleating in the key of F.
يشبه عازف بيانو
يلوح ذراعيه مستعرضاً
قبل أن تضرب أنامله العاج بقسوة خبيرة
حتى احمرار العينين
بينما شفتاك ترسمان ابتسامة حانية
وكأن لا شئ يدعو للألم
شق الأنفس، أن تسمع صدى أفكارك واضحاً، يخرج صوت من رأسك يُشبه صوتك، ليتكرر على حوائط الغُرفة. حين ترتد نظرة عينيك إلى عينيك، وكلماتك إلى كلماتك، وحركات أصابعك المتوترة إلى أصابعك الباردة. حين تميل برأسك إلى الحائط، أو تعود برأسك إلى الوراء، وتمر بأصابعك على مكان تحبه، على صورة تُميتك أكثر مما تحييك، حلم سعادة اخترته لنفسك ثم خذلك أو خذلته…
أي جحيم صنعتِه بنفسِك يا عزيزتي وتقتاتين على جلود ضحاياه؟ وأي بلاد تنشدين راحتها وسريرك لا يبرح المكان؟
هذه اللحظات المثقلة هي بطاقة الخروج من السجن، هي اللحظات التي نعرف بعدها أن شيئاً ما سيتغيّر. وإن الطاقة التي حصرت الحلم في كسر المرايا ستفتح للأصابع المضرجة بالدماء باباً في السحاب.
In the mid-Seventies, Niall Griffiths — aged 11 — left Toxteth, Liverpool with his family to Australia. His mother was too homesick to become a “Ten Pound Pom“, however, and the family went back to Liverpool only three years later. As a teenager who wanted to write, the future author of Sheepshagger (2001) felt constricted and insulted by the “posh” monopoly on education and literature. He left school for Snowdonia in Wales, where he had ancestral connections and developed a feeling for the landscape. Stump (2003) having won both the Welsh Books Council and the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year awards, it is often as a Welsh writer that Griffiths is celebrated, although he equally qualifies as Scouse and, as a writer of “progressive fiction” peopled with the dispossessed and the disaffected, he also belongs in a vernacuar Transatlantic tradition. Griffiths eventually graduated from the University of Aberystwyth, where he now lives, having spent many years working with his hands and hopping from the North of England to Wales, traveling across Britain, or beyond.
You seem to make a distinction between Celtic and Anglo-Saxon, not so much in your work but in the way you describe the English (it’s one of the few things that bind people from the former colonies back here with the Celts: hatred of the English). This might sound like a silly question but in the grander scheme of things, from the global perspective, do you think there remains a true cultural difference over and above class?
In some ways, yes, in others, no. . . I mean, this is a united kingdom supposedly but divide and rule has always been in operation, due largely to the entrenched class system. So in opposition to that, I believe that a docker from Swansea should recognise that he has more in common with a docker from say, Hull, than he does with a middle-class professional from Swansea. That said, England still remains the biggest and by far the most powerful country in the UK, and he fact that Wales and Scotland are ruled by London will always be a source of anger for as long as it lasts. It’s the richest country too, and a certain strata of it tends to see Wales and Scotland as its playground. No attention is paid to the different cultures; they’re simply countries where the rich English can holiday in their second homes. This situation is even worse in Cornwall.
الوجوه التي تطالعني، الوجوه التي تتبعني: ليست نفس الوجوه.
وجوه لا أعرفها، وجوه يؤرقني حضورها.
“وأن تأخذني معك في مركبك، وأن تجعلني قيماً على أسفارك.”
أي سفر قطعته وجوهكم على هذه اللوحات الخشبية، لكي تنالوا مني هذا الصباح؟
A Kid Came to Me
A kid they marked up down at the Qasr Al Nil police station came to complain to me. (This was what was going on back then, with the April 6th Youth Movement and Kifaya and all of that stuff; and the Brotherhood, too, they were getting it together on the sly, even though, bit by bit, they were starting to get it in the neck: cunts.) A sweet kid and a sissy, a guy could get a hard-on just sitting next to him, who’d been working with me for a while and whose name was Ashraf Bayoumi. They marked him up and he came to my house. The minute I saw him I spat and turned my back. On the 4th of April I’d sent him along to a tiny demonstration whose purpose he didn’t know in Talaat Harb Square, and he was supposed to have reported back to me the same day. He bent and wiped my spittle from the doorstep with his sleeve then threw himself at me smearing his mouth against my brow. Just hear me out, he said. Then he followed me inside and asked for a glass of water.