Egypt: 500 Days Since Arrest of Poet Galal El-Behairy

By | July 17, 2019 at 3:23 pm | No comments | News

July 15 marks 500 days since the arrest of Egyptian poet Galal El-Behairy. El-Behairy was sentenced for “insulting the military” and “spreading false news” on charges related to his latest book of poetry, ‘The Finest Women on Earth’. We call for his immediate and unconditional release, the quashing of his sentence, and for all charges against him to be dropped.

To mark this day we ask you to share El-Behairy’s latest poem, published below in both English and Arabic, and to take action for him here.


I have a date with tomorrow

I have a date with tomorrow

But, man, I am in prison

I would love to see you tomorrow

So will you visit me, if only in my dreams?

Tomorrow is not coming tomorrow

And my heart is oozing blood!

Between coffee and smoke

Between mattress and prison bars

Between jail and jailer

Between lucidity and disorientation

I wait…

The prison walls don’t know us

They don’t see the human in us!

They only know humans as prisoners

As numbers

Always standing in line

Living and dying in line

We’re the people who are born and die

Waiting…

O Freedom!

You most beautiful of women

You most difficult of women

I implore you, meet me on a date tomorrow

If only for a second…

Give me new steps

And a heart made of steel

That doesn’t grow tired

And people who love without fear

And a promise that’s new

A promise not heard before

Nights that pass, my brunette …

– you know –

In this prison

Nights are merciless.

My heart is eroded in the flood

My soul trembles and wilts.

Patience, it turns out, is not enough

Nor does it heal

Nor is it a virtue…

I am away

You and I are tired of being away

This dawn is not truthful

This night is not deceitful

O prison outside of me

O imprisoned sigh

O prison inside of me

Your walls are stubborn, without doors.

O friends and lovers

We wait…

Despite the ghastly sight

Despite the hidden moon

Your smell is a knife in the rib

Your taste, in my mind, is sugar sweet

Your love… a divine touch

I touch it with my soul, and I break.

From the ruins, an image emerges

Tender, smelling of ambergris

An image that can be

Very easily interpreted.

The years of prison and exile

In my heart, you know,

The letters of your name are hidden

Beneath red lipstick.

And man, I sit in my prison cell

The dream visits me, carrying another dream

Distress leaves

Making room for more distress

And I wait for tomorrow’s date

To come tomorrow, late!

أنا عندي میعاد مع بكرة

بس انا في السجن یاعم

انا نفسي أشوفك بكرة

فَ لو حتى تجیني فـ حلم

و ادي بكرة مابیجیش بكرة

والقلب بیشلب دم !

مابین القهوة والدخان

مابين الفرشة والقضبان

مابین السجن والسجان

مابین التوهة والفوقان

بستنظر . .

وسور السجن ماعرفناش

ولا شافش البشر فینا !

ولا یفهمش غیر ان البشر سُجنا

نِمَر ميرى

تملي وقوفها طوابیري

حیاتها وموتها طوابیري

یاشعب بیتولد ویموت

. . بیستنظر

یاحریة !!

یاأجمل بنت في الدنیا

وأصعب بنت في الدنیا

أمانة علیكي تدیني لبكرة میعاد

ولو ثانیة . .

وتدیني خطاوي جداد

وقلب حدید مبیملش

وناس بتحب ماتخافش

ووعد جدید مهوش متعاد

لیالي تمر یاسمرا . .

– ولو عارفة –

في هذا السجن بتعدي

اللیالي شداد

وقلبي بینجرف في السیل

وروحي بتترعش وتمیل

و اتاري الصبر مش كافي

ولا شافي

ولا هو جميل..

وانا غایب

وانا وانتي .. شبعنا غیاب

فَ هذا الفجر مش صادق

وهذا اللیل مهوش كداب

وآه یاسجن من برة

وآه یا آهه مش حرة

وآه یاسجن جوایا

حیطانه عنیدة مالهاش باب

آهین یافرقة الأحباب

ونستنظر..

برغم بشاعة المنظر

ورغم ان القمر غایب

وریحتك في الضلوع خنجر

وطعمك في الخیال سكر

وعشقك . . مَسّ ربَّانى

امسه بروحي واتكسر

وتطلع مِالركام صورة

رقیقة ریحتها كالعنبر

وتتفسر..

بكل بساطة تتفسر

سنین السجن والمنفى

وجوه القلب لو عارفة

حروف اسمك بتتخف. .

بروچ أحمر

وانا قاعد في سجني یاعم

یزورني الحلم شایل حلم

ویرحل هم سایب هم

وبستنظر . . میعاد بكرة

یجیني بكرة متأخر!

© PEN Canada 2019 · 401 Richmond St. W., Suite 258, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3A8 · Phone: 416 703 8448
· Charitable Business Number 88916 2541 RR0001