“The Fortune Teller” a poem by Nizar Qabbani set to music and video

I first saw this video posted on the Scarlet and Purple Tumblr blog, and i think she was attracted to it because the Gypsy fortune teller is using Crowley’s Thoth deck in her reading.

But I was immediately attracted to this tragic poem about love by Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani ( March 1923 – 30 April 1998) whom I had never heard of before, nor read his poems. According to the Wiki link he was born in Damascus, Syria and suffered much tragedy. According to Wiki:

“When Qabbani was 15, his sister, who was 25 at the time, committed suicide because she refused to marry a man she did not love. During her funeral he decided to fight the social conditions he saw as causing her death. When asked whether he was a revolutionary, the poet answered: “Love in the Arab world is like a prisoner, and I want to set (it) free. I want to free the Arab soul, sense and body with my poetry. The relationships between men and women in our society are not healthy.” He is known as one of the most feminist and progressive intellectuals of his time…….(and)……”His second marriage was to an Iraqi woman named Balqis al-Rawi, a schoolteacher whom he met at a poetry recital in Baghdad; she was killed in a bomb attack by guerrillas on the [Iraqi embassy] in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war on 15 December 1981.”

BTW Wiki has external links to more of his poetry, and below this video are the YT words in English and those spoken in Arabic in the video of this particular poem.

The Fortune Teller by Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998, Damascus, Syria)

She sat with fear in her eyes
Contemplating the upturned cup
She said “Do not be sad, my son
You are destined to fall in love”
My son, Who sacrifices himself for his beloved,
Is a martyr

For long have I studied fortune-telling
But never have I read a cup similar to yours
For long have I studied fortune-telling
But never have I seen sorrows similar to yours
You are predestined to sail forever
Sail-less, on the sea of love
Your life is forever destined
To be a book of tears
And be imprisoned
Between water and fire

But despite all its pains,
Despite the sadness
That is with us day and night
Despite the wind
The rainy weather
And the cyclone
It is love, my son
That will be forever the best of fates

There is a woman in your life, my son
Her eyes are so beautiful
Glory to God
Her mouth and her laughter
Are full of roses and melodies
And her gypsy and crazy love of life
Travels the world
The woman you love
May be your whole world
But your sky will be rain-filled
Your road blocked, blocked, my son
Your beloved, my son, is sleeping
In a guarded palace
He who approaches her garden wall
Who enters her room
And who proposes to her
Or tries to untie her braids
Will cause her to be lost, my son, lost

You will seek her everywhere, my son
You will ask the waves of the sea about her
You will ask the shores of the seas
You will travel the oceans
And your tears will flow like a river
And at the close of your life
You will return one day, my son
Defeated and broken apart inside
And you will then learn after life has passed you
That you have been pursuing only a trace of smoke
You will find that since your beloved
Has no land, no home, no address
How difficult it is, my son
To love a woman
Who has neither land, nor home

Read in English & Arabic by Ghaith AboulSaoud (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia & Damascus, Syria)

Music by Lila & Tmac

2 thoughts on ““The Fortune Teller” a poem by Nizar Qabbani set to music and video

    • Yes, very mysterious. Westerners just do not appreciate Arabic Islamic poetry at all (probably because of our conflicts of YHVH vs Allah), and i need to read more of it. The tragedy of love seems to be a common theme, something we can all relate to.

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