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Ahlan bil Ḱayr - Welcome Goodness

By Hicham Bourjaili On 4:59 PM 0 comments
Ahlan bil Ḱayr

Fi manti` ḣadiis ṫaalix bi nahfe, cii nḋiif
Btiftikro w yimkin laṫiif, mu`nix w zariif
L ḱayr mitl ccar aṡlo iṡṫilaaḣ, uwwit tixriif
Rrelatiif! La symmetry bi`e w la xafiif

Ahlan bil ḱayr, ccar baleek ma byaxrif ḣeelo
Ġalta bitṡiir cirriir, xammiil l ḱayr kill marra
Baddu yjud la majid l Adiir, byikfic marra
Law minḣaddid ḱayr w carr, miin l mawt ceelo

L ḱayr ṫarii`o dayyi`, ccarr darbo masarra
Kill marra l ḱayr feetna, ccarr sajjal xaddo
Craara btiḣro` bayt, addayc tiṡliiḣo baddo

Ccarr uwto xubudiyye, bi ġeeyto xaniif
L ḱayr ḣirriyye, bi uwto ḱillee` w żariif
Baxatilna hawa w ġaym, mallelna l jarra

Copyright July 30, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version

Welcome Goodness

A new logic is bringing about a joke, something neat
You might think or maybe nice, convincing and special
Good is like evil, the distinction is a matter of convention, and resides in the power of disclosing (1)
Relativity! No symmetry (2) was left after it and no chastity

Welcome goodness, evil without you does not know itself (3)
One fault and one becomes bad, but to deserve the name of good doer every time
One should strive for the sake of the glory of the Most Powerful, not only once
If we were to decide what is good and what is evil, who death skipped? (4)

Goodness path is narrow, evil’s way looks fun
Every time we miss an opportunity to do good evil scores
A sparkle could burn a house, how much does it take to repair it? (5)

The power of evil is slavery and in its purpose it is violent
Goodness is freedom, in its power creative and beautiful
It sends us wind and clouds, and fills our jars (6)


1) The power of disclosing is an expression coined after the will of power introduced by the philosopher Nietzsche in the 19th century. According to his views, the will of the powerful defines to all the rest of us what is good and what is evil. When one more powerful comes, new definitions of what is good and what is evil will be brought about, and the cycle could repeat itself without end. In other words, no objectivity and no rationality would reside behind the notions of good and evil, only matters of conventions and arbitrary notions imposed by the most powerful over the weak followers in any given situation. “Might makes right”: from a popular statement it becomes the law of the land. Good and evil are no more absolutes but merely relative to the powerful defining them. Another version of the argument is that individuals have all freedom to define good and evil in the manner that is convenient to them since they are all powerful to define their destiny.

2) The argument of the relativity of good and evil explained above in note 1, suffers when its apparent symmetry is examined. Though it implies that good and evil are interchangeable depending on the force or its opposite imposing them, and therefore the two notions appear to be interchangeable, they are not. Good and evil and their associated practices are not symmetrical. A series of arguments would be displayed in a ludic fashion to hint to their dissymmetry and difference in essence. The claim of relativity of good and evil when applied leads to breaking the concept of symmetry when it announces it. To illustrate the paradox, the relativity applied throw out chastity. Has it ever been heard that lack of chastity could be all goodness without evil consequences? Why in a society of free individuals the proportions would not be the same between chaste and unchaste people?

3) The argument is due to Saint Thomas of Aquinas, a medieval Doctor of the Church. Goodness does not need evil to be defined, but evil is always a lack of goodness. How could they be then interchangeable?

4) Who death skipped? The first meaning of the question is: who is the one that death will spare? The answer to the question is that death skips nobody since we all die, and therefore evil has an absolute and universal character experienced by all. Second, if we were to define and choose at whim between good and evil, who among us managed to skip death by choice? The answer is none of us managed to avoid death because we are not all powerful, and we cannot escape rationality and objectivity. As a matter of fact though the two meanings are expressed by the same question, the symmetrical appearance of the question between the one who chooses to skip the other, death or the individual, the artificial appearance of symmetry cannot hide the objectivity of the result. The argument of relativity would lead to state that the possible answers - any individual could skip death, death could skip any individual, or death could not skip anyone, or no one could skip death, and so forth - are all equivalent statements. The reality is that we all die. Nothing is merely relative, but relativity and the relativists.

5) A simple argument shows the imbalance between good and evil and their effects: it takes definitely more than a sparkle to build a house; good is more stringent than evil; whereas evil is easy. Moreover, letting the house burn is irreversible. The damage we do we cannot take back.

6) A Lebanese saying holds that the hell is “Jhannam l Ḣamra”: a place of burning that is red from heat! If you are not convinced that good and evil are definitely different, experiencing heat, drought and thirst might convince you!

Copyright August 1, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Maryam - Mary

By Hicham Bourjaili On 6:06 PM 0 comments

Ya Maryam, ya damxa ḣaṫṫ xlaya Rruḣ l muḣiiṫ
Simxit l Kilme w iblita, ḣayeete inte
Hwiit, seemḣiine ma bifham illa bil xawiiṫ
Law ṫaal dahre kint yawm fniit, waḣdik la tifne

Ya aḣla warde xa madḱal kill li byut
Mṡaddara wi mkarrame, xanna la tnaḣḣe
Xyunik w xawnik w Ibnik l Xalii, zaytna wil ut
Minnik ya mbaarake, w xa Bayyna liḣḣe

Ya Imm meetit xindil Jiljle, ma ba`a tmut
Bil majd mkallale, eemit Malkitna faw` jnud
Tincur bi ṡaḣra aṡiidit ceexir l wujud

Killo ṡada, weeḣit ḱulud, txalla` xal xud
Bayn l arḋ wi ssama, eem w ṫilix w baxd bixud
La xindik w xindo Maryam ḱallina nfut

Copyright July 28, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version


O Mary, O tear (1) on which the encompassing (2) Spirit (3) rested
You heard the Word (3) and accepted it, my beloved
I fell (4), forgive me I do not understand but when shouted upon
Whatever time my life could have lasted a day I would have died, you alone do not perish (5)

O most beautiful rose at the entrance of all homes
Presiding and blessed, do not turn from us
Your eyes and your help and your Most High Son, our oil and bread
Come from you o blessed, insist on Our Father (3)

O Mother who died on Golgotha (6), who does not die anymore (7)
Crowned with glory, Our Queen (7) rose above an army
Preaching in the desert the poem of the author (8) of being

All echo and thirst (9), an oasis of eternity, suspended on the cross (10)
Between heaven and earth, who rose and ascended to heaven and will come again (11)
O Mary to his and your house let us enter


1) The name Mary, Maryam in Lebanese, means a drop of the Ocean, therefore like a tear.

2) The word for encompassing used in the poem is the word muḣiiṫ which also means Ocean.

3) The Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, refers to the One and Only God in three persons as defined in the Nicene Creed with reference to the tradition and the Gospels.

4) The verb hiwe in Lebanese means exactly to fall. It refers to falling and falling in love alike. The first meaning hints to the confession of a sinner who fell into sinning and the second meaning points to a confession of love for Mary made by the sinner.

5) The expression “la tifne” in Lebanese could have two meanings: the first is “not to perish” an expression of hope and a supplication addressed to Mary; the second hints to the transitive use of the verb with a supposed pronoun referring to the sinner or sinners though not expressed explicitly and means “Mary do not make me perish” or “Mary do not make us perish”.

6) Golgotha is the place of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The death of Mary on the Golgotha refers to the suffering of the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross watching the tortures and the death of her son, fulfilling the prophecy of Simeon as recorded in the Gospel of the Evangelist Luke, “a sword will pierce your heart”.

7) On August 15 of each year the Church celebrates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a feast also called the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary entered Heaven in body and soul and was crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth, and all the Saints.

8) The word ceexir in Lebanese refers to the poet and the poet is the one who does things as revealed by the Greek root of the word. The author of being is literally the poet of being. “I Am Who Am” is the name of God as revealed in Exodus to Moses.

9) The word ṡada means both echo and thirst. Jesus Christ said on the cross “I am thisty” and He is the Son of the Father as stated in the Gospels, the Church Councils and Tradition.

10) The word xud in Lebanese refer to the beams of wood and also to the luth. Jesus Christ was crucified on the wood of the cross. As a metaphor, God played the most beautiful melody on the cross. Also, an Arabic tradition holds that poems in the pre-islamic era where hanged in the market place of Xukaaż in the Arab Peninsula to be read. Jesus Christ is the Word par excellence, hanged on the cross. As a metaphor, He is the greatest poem to have ever been written and displayed for our reading.

11) The verse make clear reference to the death, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus Christ and his expected return to judge the living and the dead as stated in the Nicene Creed.

Copyright August 1, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Ḋayxte Naṡirte - My Village, My Triumph

By Hicham Bourjaili On 5:24 PM 0 comments
Ḋayxte Naṡirte

Kaccaf ṫṫamax xan wijjo ssa`iil xan manbar
Xeele bi markaz t``iil, muna almax nneejḣiin
Yxiico bala ḋaġt, aw ḱawf aw wiḣdit l ḣaziin
Maḣall ahlo ahil xa ṫṫabiixa ḣaddil baḣir

Ccillel wi nnahr kameen byimce, fayyit l ḣawr
Mayyiṫ ṡṡaḱir, ġamrit zzaytun, w ġamzit l ḣa`il
Caġlit l ariḋ ifeede la ṡṡiḣḣa w lal xa`il
La ṫṫaamiḣ cheede, ḋamiir w ḣikme bi ddawr

Ḋayxte, ḣuḋurik waḋax bi alb l ḣaḋaara
Liġiz min fann w xilm l idaara, ḱajal jbaara
Minnik nafaro w siḱro bi daxwit xaar

La ilik li kbiir bi xilmo rijix miḣtaar
Ilik naṡrit l ma`mun xan ha`` w jadaara
Saleem la bayt amiin min ḱirbe xamaara

Copyright July 27, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version

My Village, My Victory

Greed revealed its ugly face from above a high stand
In a high position, the most brilliant successful people desire
To live without stress, fear or loneliness
In a friendly place with nature and next to the sea

Falls and rivers are also acceptable neighborhoods, the shadow of popular trees
The water from the rock, the embrace of the olive trees, and the glimpse of the fields
Working the land brings benefits to the health and the mind
To the ambitious it is a mark of good conscience and wisdom in turn

My Village, your presence put in the heart of civilization
An enigma of art and science of management that humiliated the powerful
Who scorned you and mocked you, calling you by shameful names (1)

To you the proud in their knowledge came back confused
To you the victory of the faithful in righteousness and merit
Hail to a haven house rising from ruins


1) One tenet of modernity is that old fashioned traditions are devolved and inferior in status to modern societies living in the age of science and enlightenment, in industrial and post industrial societies. As a matter of fact, the beginning of the industrial revolution started a process of rural exodus emptying the countryside from its inhabitants who flocked to urban areas seeking for work and opportunity and often meeting misery after the loss of their farmland and their traditional societal network. The process did not stop since that time but even accelerated with World War I and World War II and up until now with conflicts ripping entire populations and forcing them to exile when they are fortunate not to be exterminated. Faith in science, progress, power and wealth often brought calamity whether through wars between nations, within societies, through family and personal failures, because of the environment pollution and poisoning, and the many tragedies that could not be all counted. People from rural areas were viewed by the urban and proud ones as left behind people, doomed, lacking education and sophistication, naive, old-fashioned and many other insults that I am not going to cover. Yet, amazingly and startlingly, those same successful and ultra-modern people are longing to have a life style that resembles that of the villages of old times! Should we condemn science and the achievements of the modern world? Not necessarily. We need to learn to appreciate life and be grateful, and the first step in that direction is to become humble. As mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels of the Apostle Matthew, and the Evangelists Mark and Luke, the first will become last and the last first.

Copyright August 1, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Carbil - Sharbel

By Hicham Bourjaili On 5:20 AM 0 comments

Ttalj byinhimir w bidub, li xyun btinfijir, w baxd
Ma truḣ, l widyeen btusax wi ṡṡaḱir byinca``
Fi raahib mxalla` bi sawmaxa xa tall, ḣa``
Yib`a ta yiḱlaṡ l weede wi ttall, ta ytimm l waxd

Marbuṫ Carbil bi nidro wi sraar l xibeede
Cu bticke ariḋna min jameel w siyeede
Cu naa`ṡo ḱibizna min zaw` w cakl w ṫaxm
Law naṫṫayṫ min raas cciir ma nkasarlak xaḋm

Jameel l arḋ min majd l Ḱeeli`, Ssayyid wi Rrabb
Ḱibizna la waḣdo ma byikfe xa ha ddarb
La tjarrib Rabbak, la mni ccar` w la mnil ġarb

Xawaaṡif, tajeerib, araayib, xawaaṫif
Nneesik faw`on xile bi tawaaḋox l xeerif
Bi xazm w raṡaane, mḣabbe w tafeene, habb

Copyright July 22, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version


The snow falls and melts, the springs (1) gush, and after
They pass, valleys become larger and the rock cracks
A monk is hanging on a hill in his hermitage, it is fair
He stays till the end (2) of the valley and the hill, till the promise is fulfilled

Sharbel is bound by his vows and the mysteries (3) of worshipping
What is wrong with our land, its beauty and majesty?
What is missing in our bread, style, form or taste?
If you jump from the top of a cliff none of your bones will be broken (4)

The beauty of the land reflects the glory of the Creator, the Sovereign and the Lord
Our bread alone is not enough on this way
Do not put your Lord to the test, from east nor west (4)

Storms, temptations, relatives, emotions
The hermit rose above them with the humility of the one who knows
With resolution and perseverance, love and generous sacrifice, he stood (5)


1) The word xayn in Lebanese with the plural xyun means the spring of water and the eye.

2) The verb ḱiliṡ in Lebanese means to end and also to be saved.

3) The mysteries of worship are also called the sacraments. There are seven of them for each step in our earthly and spiritual life: baptism, confirmation, confession, communion, priesthood and Sharbel was both a monk and a priest, marriage and the anointing of the sick. Priests are married to the Church in a mystical fashion. The vows of a monk or a nun are usually three: poverty, chastity and obedience.

4) The Maronite Liturgy when celebrating the feast of Saint Sharbel mentions that Jesus Christ wanted Sharbel to be conformed to his image. Hence, Sharbel was tempted in his life with the same three temptations of Jesus Christ as counted in the Synoptic Gospels of the Apostle Matthew, the Evangelists Mark and Luke. And like Jesus Christ, Sharbel in grace overcame.

5) The verb habb in Lebanese has many meanings all acceptable in the poem context: to stand with zeal is one of them; also to blow like the wind, the wind being the symbol of the Holy Spirit; to be enflamed, like with the fire of divine love; to bear arms for a noble cause, like priests and monks fighting for their salvation and the salvation of the World.

Copyright August 1, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

L Ḱariif - The Season of Fall

By Hicham Bourjaili On 8:37 PM 0 comments
L Ḱariif

Rijix Aylul wil Ḱariif bi ṡawṫo nnaḣiif
Yrandiḣ laḣno żżariif, xarram cayḱ l fuṡul
Talla tleelna snunu, w min ṡawto ṡawt zzaġlul
Fajro w ḣululu ma aḣla w dammo l ḱafiif

Baxdo Ticriin, nide w cite, ġalle w ḣaniin
Li mweesim btiḱlaṡ, wi mnil karke cu ṫayyib
Xara`na, talimna jirḣo byikbar ḱṡayyib
L ġaym bizurna kill marra xal mawxad amiin

L Birbaara ṫallit bil aṫaayif, w Kenun
Ḋayyaf mcabbak w xuwweem, w maxhad l funun
Addam N`ula, Yiḣya, Yusif, l Xaḋra w Yasux

Alla maxna w maxak, mḣabbe w ḱucuux, jaliil
L abyaḋ ismak, ramzo arzak, nasmak xaliil
Naḱlak ḱaliil, Rabbak l karme, niḣna li frux

Copyright July 18, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version


Welcome back September and Fall with its smooth voice
Humming its beautiful tune, the elder season presiding
Filled our hills with swallows, and its cheering songs
Its dawn and dwelling how amazing and its tender presence

October (1) followed, with dew and rain, harvest and longing
The seasons gave their yields, and from the distilling pan how delicious
Our anisette, our ploughs grow in the fields like fertile wounds
The clouds always visit us faithful to the time

The feast of Saint Barbara (2) came with its pastries (3), and December (4)
Offered its fried sweets in net and ball shapes (5), the school of arts (6)
Presented Nicholas, John, Joseph, the Virgin and Jesus

God is with us (7) and with you, love and reverence, honorable
Are you whose name is white (8), your cedar his symbol (9), your breeze tender
Your palm trees (10) friendly, your Lord the vine, and we the branches (11)


1) Ticriin in Lebanese refers to two months October and November: the former is Ticriin l Awwal, the First Ticriin, the latter Ticriin Tteene, the Second Ticriin. Ticriin cannot be translated with one word in English. I, the author and translator, proposed “October”.

2) Saint Barbara is a Christian martyr who was beheaded by her pagan father for her faith in Christ and the Holy Trinity, in nowadays City of Baalbek, Bxalbak in Lebanese, called also Heliopolis in Antiquity and meaning in Greek the City of the Sun. It is the same city in the Bekaa Valley, li B`eex, in the East of Modern Lebanon, that is associated with the legend of the Phoenix. Her popular feast is celebrated on December 4 in a similar fashion to Halloweens. Kids bear masks and go for a trade and treat.

3) Aṫaayif is a special Lebanese pastry prepared for Saint Barbara celebration. It is made of tender dough in the shape of a disc, filled with nuts, or cream topped with a red flower of orange, half-closed and sprinkled with honey-like syrup.

4) Kenun in Lebanese refers to two months December and January: the former is Kenun l Awwal, the First Kenun, the latter Kenun Tteene, the Second Kenun. Kenun cannot be translated with one word in English. I, the author and translator proposed “December”.

5) Mcabbak and Xuwweem are special pastries served on Saint Barbara (December 4) and the Epiphany of the Lord (January 6). Both could be made of rice powder dough fried in oil. Mcabbak has the shape of a net and Xuwweem that of a ball. They are soaked in a honey-like syrup before serving.

6) Advent is a great time in the Church referred to as a season in the liturgical calendar year. It culminates with Christmas (December 25) and is followed by the Epiphany (January 6 in the Catholic Church). Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas December 6), John the Baptist, the Nativity are very popular in Lebanon. People celebrate with music and songs, art productions, clothing fashions, pastries, neighbor visits, family and Church gatherings and theater plays. Since the Orthodox Churches might celebrate Christmas on January 6, Santa Claus and the Nativity of Jesus as well as Epiphany (the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan) and Easter (the Resurrection of Jesus) are celebrated twice.

7) “God is with us” is the literal translation of the Hebrew Emmanuel, also the name of Jesus Christ in Christian tradition. In Lebanese expressions like “Alla maxxak”, “Alla maxxik” and “Alla maxkon” meaning “God is with you” or “God be with you” when addressing a man, a woman or two or more persons respectively, are very common forms of salutations and blessing.

8) “honorable are you whose name is white”: the name Lebanon means literally white and the word meaning honorable in Lebanese “jaliil” is the same word for Galilee “l Jaliil” where Jesus grew in the town of Nazareth. Lebanon was called the white very likely because of its mountains covered with snow and its springing waters. Water meant and still means life in the middle of the deserts of the Middle East.

9) and 10) The cedar and the palm tree are both characteristic trees of Lebanon. The cedar botanic variety found in Lebanon was coined “the Cedar of Lebanon” and became the symbol flaunting the Lebanese national flag. The cedar wood, also called timber, was a precious raw material in Antiquity. The Phoenicians, a seafarer people originating in Lebanon, used it for building their ships and for trade. It was prized by Kings from all over the Ancient World for its beams in building and making furniture. Cedar trees could live for thousand years and their wood was viewed as long lived raw material (eternal?) for manufacturing. The Cedar of Lebanon was used in the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem by King Salomon. Less obvious, the palm tree is a common tree of the Lebanese littoral, growing next to the Mediterranean Sea eastern shores, though it is often associated with Arabia in the western imagination. Both the cedar and the palm tree are symbols in the Hebrew Scriptures of the just. Psalm 92, 13: “The just shall flourish like the palm tree, shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon.”

11) “your Lord the vine, and we the branches”: by reference to the Gospel according to the Apostle John, Chapter 15, Jesus is the vine and his disciples the branches. Wine is a popular drink in Lebanon since Antiquity. The Baalbek Greco-Roman vestiges, called in Lebanese “Alxit Bxalbakk” and meaning “the Castle of Baalbek”, in the Bekaa Valley, “li B`eex”, reveal a temple dedicated to Bacchus, the Greek god of the vine, wine and orgies,. The temple is decorated by grapes and weeds carved on its stones! Vineyards are common in Lebanon. They have a specific name: li krum. There, people often grow the vine, olive trees and fig trees. Vine trees, l xaraayic, could also be found growing next to home walls, climbing on the roof over a special net designed for this purpose. In the summer, it shelters the house from the heat and provides its delicious grapes for the thirsty. People would meet in the evening under it to have fun.

Copyright July 19, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Zhur - Flowers

By Hicham Bourjaili On 7:21 PM 0 comments

Zzhur killa btidbal, ḣabiibe la tizxal
Fi nhaar killna minruḣ, la ticke w la tis`al
L marj milyeen zhur, ṡnubar, xaraayic w zaxrur
W ca`eeyi` nnixmeen, w la Maryam baḱḱur

Law miir ḣarram li zhur ma mumkin ni`bal
L ḣobb max xiṫra biruḣ, ya Miir la tizġar
Zzanba`jameelo ḣakam, ikliilo min ġaar
La miir w la malak mitlo mahma zzaman ṫaal

Yasmiin w laylak, ya maḣla ssamar wi ssahar
L lawz mni Cbaaṫ zahro ḣeemil la ilna ḱabar
L ward kil ṡobḣ byibke, ya ma aṡaayid nażam

Cheedit ḣa`` w la zur, narjis, xanbar w mantur
`Maar `ronfol lal Amar, l ḣobb mic bi zzhur
Iza ḣabbayt nṡof, ma ḣada ḣabb w żalam

Copyright July 09, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version


All the flowers will fade, my beloved do not become consternate
One day we all are going to be gone, do not complain nor wonder
The prairie is full of flowers, pine, vine and berries
And red poppies, and cyclamens (1)

Would a prince ban the flowers we shall never accept the decree
Love matches their perfume, O Prince do not be childish
The beauty of the lily is sovereign, its crown from laurel
Neither prince nor king is like it till the end of time

Jasmine and violets, how sweet to sit and chat in the night
The almond flowers have been carrying for us the good news since February
The roses cry every morning, who could count the rimed poems in their honor

A truthful testimony with no deceit, daffodils, ambergris and gillyflowers
Carnations for the Beloved, love does not consist in flowers
If you love be fair, nobody loved and did wrong


1) cyclamens: in Lebanese this flower variety is called literally the incense of Mary.

Copyright July 20, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Maṫar - Rain

By Hicham Bourjaili On 6:19 AM 0 comments

Hajamit li ġyum wi rriiḣ leeḣi`a la wayn
Li xyun bitreefi`a, faw` mruj bayna bayn
Nafḣeet l ġuzeet w na`zeet ssukun xam bitsud
Ma xeed fi arḋ w la sama, l maṫar miḣe li ḣdud

Ḱaṫar la xinna ḋḋayf bi xyunu ssud acraar
Tiḋrob ahil l bayt bi ġayż ḣbeel l amtaar
Yilbod, yinfoḱ, yitmor w yimṫor bi ġazaara
La talim w la jall xinna bi`e, la ġoṡn w la zyaara

Baddu ykun Aylul ḣall xa Niseen, aw Aḋaar
Ximil la Ayyaar ci micwaar, w xanil ḱaraab
Cu fiina niḣke, masaḣ cuxurna wi ttraab

Żulmo ḋabaab, xilimna, buxdna ablo saraab
Ariḋna balla, jabalna ḣalla, ṡaar lli ṡaar
Faar nnabix w Ḣabiibna la ssama ġaar ṫaar

Copyright July 12, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version


The clouds are rushing and the wind is following where
The eyes are traveling, above uncertain prairies
The waves of the conquerors and the stroke of the silence are spreading
Land and sky are not recognizable anymore, the rain abolished the borders

Our visitor came with fire in his black eyes
Striking the hosts with angry ropes of rain
Beating, blowing, burying and raining abundantly
Neither ploughs nor terraces were left for us, neither branch nor visit

September could have paid a visit (1) to April, or March
Might have walked to May, about destruction
What could we say, he touched (2) our feeling (3) and the land (4)

Fog is his tyranny (5), our knowledge, aspirations of before became outdated (6)
Our land he quenched, our mountain he embellished, what happened did happen
The spring is gushing and our Beloved to heaven aimed and flied


1) The verb ḣall has here two metaphoric meanings: first to come and dwell, implying September came and dwelt in April so instead of spring time the weather is like fall time; second to dye, implying that September dyed April in such a way one could confuse the two months and corresponding seasons.

2) The verb masaḣ has here four meanings: first to crush and smash pointing to the violence of the storm; second to sweep and clean; third to define the portions of land; fourth, it is the root of Masiiḣ, the Christ, that is to say the anointed, and the verb is used commonly for the anointing of the sick so they be healed with the consecrated oil unction, the prayers of the faithful and the grace of God.

3) The noun cuxur means feeling, yet not just emotional feelings it refers also to the depth of the being; we feel from the heart that is the center of our being and conscience not a mere reference to our emotions.

4) The noun traab refers to the dirt of the land, one of the four basic constituent elements of Nature as described by the Greeks of Antiquity. It refers to the materiality of Earth and the land of the ancestors. Remember the Lent statement on Ash Monday (Eastern Rites) or Ash Wednesday (Latin Rite): “Inta mni ttraab w la ttraab btirjax.” You are dirt and to dirt you shall return.

5) The noun żulm refers to tyranny and darkness. Therefore, “Fog is his tyranny” and also “Fog is his darkness”.

6) The noun saraab means literally mirage.

Copyright July 23, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Sirjbeel - The Village of Sirjbeel

By Hicham Bourjaili On 8:11 PM 0 comments

Ya Jbeel xindik asraar bi xibbik mḱabbeeye
Xindik mnilta`a w la xindik l micwaar
L mubtaġa wil ġeeye, minnik l fiḱḱaar
Wi mwayyit li jraar, w munitna mxabbeeye

Ramlik xinna mreyeet, brii`na milyeen ḣkeyeet
Zaytna w xara`na min baxil krumik mazġul
Baxd haweekii ma fi hawa ṫarii w ḱajul
Janbik nazil ssurur, hayṡaat, ra`ṡaat w dabkeet

Xal ḱaatir w xal beel, ismik mitl sreej miḋwiyye
Xa tall baxdo tall, caxbik lli ma fall, mxalli` wardiyye
La jraasik li mḣibbiin ktaar, xa idayon xallamit asaar

Ṡṡnubar ibaro nasar, caxar jeeyiin n`ul
Ntiirak la saajna w ḱibizna l mahlul
Jaaritna w jaarna, l feexil wil fayyeet

Copyright July 11, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version

The Village of Sirjbeel

Mountains, you hide mysteries in your chest
You are the place where we meet and travel to
You are what we desire and our goal, pottery comes from you
And the water in the jars, and our abundant stocks

Your sand became mirrors in our homes, our drinking water vase is full of stories
Our olive oil and anisette bear the flavor of the vineyard drought
No breeze could compare to yours, smooth and shy
Your sides bring us pleasures, cheers, old and new dances

Always in the mind, your name is like a burning oil lamp
Over a hill that stills a hills, your people that did not go, hang the rosary
Your bells have many lovers marked on their hands (1)

The pine trees threw their needles (2), they felt we were coming to say
Give us your needles so we burn it for making our bread
For our neighbors, the workers and the shadows


1) In Lebanon, many churches still have a rope attached to the church bell and men usually would take turns ringing the bell and take honor in doing so as well. They would compete who could with a stroke of the rope cause the bell to ring the highest number of times, or who could keep ringing it for the longest time, or even who could make the bell ring with one hand only. Men would go up and down with the rope and have a stone specially positioned so they could improve their posture while at labor. Women and the young ones could eye the most talented unwed men. The married ones could boast about their husbands. Children watch and participate in the show too. They might be allowed to try ringing the bell.

2) Baking the bread in many Lebanese homes, often in villages, is an event of its rights, or used to be in the past. It involves all the members of the family, the neighbors and even foreigners who happened to be around. The dough is prepared on the evening of the baking day, and left with leaven so it leavens. A room is usually designated for baking, and in the morning women will start baking the bread. Men could have assisted in preparing the dough. A sequence is followed to make the bread, each bearing a name: first the dough is arranged in pieces that would produce the bread in the desired size (called ti`ṫṫiix l xajiin in Lebanese); second it is flattened on a piece of wood to become thin and in the shape of a disc with flower added to it along this step so the dough would not stick (called rra` in Lebanese); it is then elongated with successive and fast beats of hands so the disc becomes larger and thinner ( called l hall in Lebanese); it is then put on a pillow with final touches to the very thin disc-like dough borders so they fit the pillow’s round shape and the pillow is tuned over a heated piece of metal in the shape of a cone called saaj in Lebanese. Once baked, usually in few seconds, the bread is taken from over the saaj and either put on the side for later consumption or offered to the attending people for breakfast and hospitality purposes. It is eaten hot with olive oil, thyme, cheese, yogurt or whatever the guests wish. This traditional bread is called ḱibiz saaj or mar`u`. The dry needles of the neighboring pine trees are the fuel of choice for baking. Often children go to the pine woods and collect it for the day of baking. It burns quickly and easily and provides enough heat for baking when mixed with other dry branches. The verb nasar means to disperse but also to write in prose; the verb caxar means to feel but also to write poetry; and the dry and fallen pine needles name is ntiir that could also be traced to the root nasar.

Copyright August 2, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Ddibbiyye - The Village of Dibbiyye

By Hicham Bourjaili On 7:50 PM 0 comments

Fi tleel mamdude xa ṫul l baḣir wil mada
Saḣbeet w nasmeet xa madd l yamm wi ṡṡaḱir
Byuta seeḣeet li ḋḋayf, wil maxruf, wil ḱamir
Ḱarruba kallal li bsetiin, zaytuna balsama

Jamlu, halla halla, fi layle ṡaarit Layla
Qays xam bidur yfattic xan ḋaww l qamar
L qamar wayn baddu ykun ma zeel fi Layla
W la Layla Qays ṡaar majnun bil muḱtaṡar

Nnaḣil biruḣ bil waxir yo`ṫof aḣla zahra
Nakhit ttall wi cciir, wil madd wil jazir cahda
L xayn, wi ccamis, ṡṡibbayr wil karim, wi nnaḱil

Ddirbakke w kees l iwweele jamxo camilha
Ddabbiike bit`um tir`os, bticrab wi btekol xasalha
Ma aḣla cabeeba wi ṡṡabaaya sawa mitl rramil

Copyright June 18, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version

The Village of Dibbiyye

There are hills extending as far as the shore and the sight could go
The land stretches and the breeze whispers along the water and the rocks
Its homes are spacious to the hosts, bountiful and generous in wine
Its Carob trees (1) ornate its gardens, its olive trees (2) provide balms

Jamlu (3) lives in the heart (4), one night she became Layla (5)
Qays (5) is going around searching for the moonlight (6)
Where could the moon be if Layla is there?
For the sake of Layla, Qays became a fool to make the story short

Bees go into the wilderness to seek the most beautiful flower
Bearing the taste of the hills and cliffs, the tides are its nectar
Along with the springs (7), the sun, the cactus and the vineyards, and the palm trees

The drums (8) and the cheers of the singers (9) brought together its people
Dancers (10) are standing and dancing, drinking and eating its honey
What a beautiful sight its youth (11) together like the sands


1) The Carob trees are so characteristic of the village of Dibbiyye and its surrounding that the whole area is called the Carob District, Iqliim l Ḱarrub in Lebanese.

2) In Lebanese “zaytun” is a generic word for olive trees and their fruit the olives alike.

3) Jamlu is the name of a popular woman character named in traditional popular songs, zzajal in Lebanese.

4) One of the songs starts like this “Halla, Halla ya Jamlu...” meaning “O Jamlu I miss your company and your love”.

5) Qays and Layla are the names of two Arab lovers. Umru` l Qays is the name of the Arab poet considered among the first Arab poets from the pre-islamic times who wrote a nostalgia poem for the woman he loved and her people. His poem starts with an invitation for two witnesses to stand and cry in memory of his beloved woman Layla and the place where her people tents were built: “Qifaa nabkii...”. Desert like time would erase all souvenirs and man cannot help but cry in company of his pairs. The reference to two witnesses is reminiscent of the Judeo-Christian context in the Arabic Peninsula at that time. Legend holds that Qays became fool because of his desperate love of Layla.

6) The word Qamar in Arabic and Qamar or Amar in Lebanese refer to the moon, to the beloved and to flowers.

7) The word xayn, plural xyun, means eye and spring of water in Lebanese.

8) Ddirbakke is a traditional Lebanese drum.

9) The word iwweel, with the plural form iwweele designates singers of traditional Lebanese songs called zzajal. On popular tunes, the singers could sing known or new songs with often a choir repeating the refrains. The singers of this genre are mainly men, though women are allowed to participate.

10) The word dabbiik, with the same feminine and plural form of dabbiike, refers to the dancers of the Lebanese traditional dance of dabke, characterized by the feet and legs regular strokes of those dancing in groups. The verb dabak means to strike in Lebanese.

11) Youth could be rendered by two Lebanese words one for men, ccabeeb, the other for women, ṡṡabaaya.

Copyright August 1, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Axeele Kisirween - Upper Kisirween District

By Hicham Bourjaili On 6:40 PM 0 comments
Axeele Kisirween

Xaziiz ya jabal ta nitirkak wi nruḣ
Ṫare hawek, mayytak ṡafa, ma aḣla samek
Xaṡrak laziiz, ṫa`sak na`e, xiṫrak bifuḣ
La kees w la nees, la nadam, la samar aw sahar balek

Ṡubḣak milyeen xṡafiir bitrandiḣ w biṫṫiir
Zzizeen xam bitwizz wil wizzeel xam bihizz
Huwwe aṡfar w hinne mlawanniin, w caxbak zamiir
Neezil, ci ṫaalix la xindak, ci ḣizzik, ci mizz

Ma aḣla hal axde max finjeen l ahwe
Max aḣla warde wi ḱduda l miḣmarriin
La btifri` nnawme wala ṡṡaḣwe maxil mḣibbiin

Baḣrak ḣeemil daxwe lal able willi baxde
Karmak ḣeemil ḣamle min xinab w tiin
Ġiṡnak aḣla raaye lalli seefaro wil bee`yiin

Copyright June 17, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version

Upper Kisirween District

So Dear Mountain, we are leaving you and going
Your air is so fresh, your water so pure, how beautiful is your sky
Your dusk is so lovely, your weather so clear, your perfume is spreading
No cup nor cheerers, no drinking company (1), no chat nor sleeplessness without you

Your morning is full of birds singing and flying
Flies are buzzing and the broom is swinging
It is yellow and they are colored, and your people are blowing their horns
Up and down on your roads to visit you, back and forth

How beautiful to sit and have a cup of coffee
With the most beautiful rose and her red cheeks
It does not matter to sleep or to wake with the beloved

Your sea bears a calling to those who came before and will come after me
Your vineyard is bearing a harvest of grapes and figs
Your palms are the most wonderful flag for those who left and those who are staying


1) The noun nadam has two meanings in Lebanese: first sharing the wine or any other alcoholic drink; second regret or remorse.

Copyright July 29, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Jrud Jbayl - Remote Heights of Jbayl District

By Hicham Bourjaili On 5:59 PM 0 comments
Jrud Jbayl

Jbeel mitl l kub bil xeele majbule
Bi kaxba ttalj bidub w Nahr Ibrahiim jeere
Bi albo Adoniis w Xactarut, ka`anno mic deere
Iṡṡit ḣubbon l ḣaziin adiime, bi ddam maḣlule

Usṫura killa ḱayeel, kamaca l weede
Mni traab w sama, mnil mayy wil hawa
Wi ccams wil amar, wi njuum l layl l heede
Arḋ killa jameel, la ḣdud l baḣr wil fala

Btichad li zhur xa damm l jariiḣ l maskub
Bitnuḣ li xṡafiir min faw` ḋḋariiḣ l mankub
Ṡarḱit Xactarut nubu`a, w cakl l usṫura ṡura

Bitxabbir xan rrabiix, wil ḣubb bil maxmura
Bitbaccir bi Maryam xam tindub l Masiiḣ
Abil ma yiṫlax ṡubḣ yiḣke bi ccakl ṡṡariiḣ

Copyright June 16, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

English Version

Remote Heights of Jbayl District

The mountains are fashioned in the shape of an elevated cup
At their bottom the snow is melting and the River of Abraham (1) is gushing
Carrying Adonis and Astarte (2), nonchalant
Their sad love story is from old, tainted with blood

A myth loaded with imagination, caught by the valley
Made from dirt and sky, from the water and the wind
The sun and the moon, and the stars of the quiet night
The land gorges with beauty, till the border of the sea and free space

The flowers witness the poured blood gushing from the wounded
The birds are moaning from above the deserted tomb
The cry of Astarte is a prophesy, and the form of the myth is a metaphor

It heralds spring, and the love in the inhabited land
Preaches about Mary mourning the Christ
Before the morning rise speaking in open form


1) Nahr Ibrahiim is the name of the river flowing in the Jbayl District valley from the snowy heights to the Mediterranean Sea. Its name means literally the River of Abraham. In the Spring Season when the snow melts, the river gushes abundantly and carries with its waters dirt from erosion and sediments. Down along the valley, these waters rich in nutrients for the soil have a reddish coloration, like blood. The symbolism is all natural: like the blood in the veins of living creatures, especially humans, the river is the blood spreading life in the valley, for the wild and cultivated land alike.

2) Adonis and Astarte are the names of Canaanite (also called Phoenician) deities mentioned in the mythology of Antiquity and celebrated in popular rituals at places of worship. Adonis is a young man and Astarte a beautiful young lady according to the myth. They were fiancés when Adonis was killed in the early spring by a wild boar on a hunting venture in the heights of Mount Lebanon above the State City of Jbayl, one of the oldest cities of the World if not the oldest. His blood and the tears of Astarte searching for her missing beloved fertilized the river, called nowadays the River of Abraham (see note 1). Every year the land would remember them again and the river would gush with water and blood. The myth influenced other mythologies from Antiquity like the Greek and Roman Mythologies. Adonis could also be identified with Apollo (Greek god of beauty and patron of the arts) and Astarte with Aphrodite (Greek goddess of beauty and love) and with Venus (Roman version of Aphrodite). Astarte is also known by the name Ashtar or Ishtar in Mesopotamia. For the inhabitants of the land, when Christianity took over old religions, the myth became a symbolic story from the past, grafted with the Faith in the true Adonis and Astarte, that is to say Jesus Christ and Mary. Abraham is the Father of the believers in the One and True God, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Jesus Christ and Mary are his descendants. Hence the River of Abraham springs with them as well. The renewal of the land in spring mirrors the Passion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ who poured water and blood from his side when he was hanging on the cross and was pierced with the spear of the Roman soldier, according to the Gospel of the Apostle John.

Copyright July 26, 2009 Hicham Khalil Bourjaili
Our Lady of Lebanon, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA