Abdullah Al-Baradouni: From Exile to Exile

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Abdullah Al-Baradouni was a Yemeni writer and poet. Al-Baradouni was born in Zarajat Baradoun in Dhamar, Yemen. When he was six years old he came down with smallpox leaving him blind. Al-Baradouni started writing poetry when he was 13 years old. He published 12 poetry books and six books on topics ranging from politics to folklore to literature. He is considered Yemen's most famous poet. He advocated for democracy and women's writes and wrote poems critical of the government and revolutionaries who overthrew them. Because of his beliefs Al-Baradouni spent time in prison throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.


From Exile to Exile

My country is handed over from one tyrant to the next,
a worse tyrant; from one prison to another,
from one exile to another.
It is colonised by the observed
invader and the hidden one;
handed over by one beast to two
like an emaciated camel.
In the caverns of its death
my country neither dies
nor recovers. It digs
in the muted graves looking
for its pure origins
for its springtime promise
that slept behind its eyes
for the dream that will come
for the phantom that hid.
It moves from one overwhelming
night to a darker night.
My country grieves
in its own boundaries
and in other people's land
and even on its own soil
suffers the alienation
of exile.