Richard Oduor Oduku
Fatiha Morchid’s Let’s rain is a volume of meditative and aphoristic poems about ecstasy, longing, love and pain. Morchid is a poet, writer, and a paediatrician. She is the winner of the 2010 Moroccan Poetry Prize. The poems in Let’s rain were originally written in Arabic and have been translated into English by Norddine Zouitni. From the first poem, ‘Let’s rain’, to the last poem, ‘Things of essence’, the feeling is one of free-flow. With simplicity and directness, the poet ensures that the actuality of poetry is not lost in a mass of intellectual abstractions. The poems speak to the reader in a voice that is soft, elastic, and rubbery – an intoxication one struggles to break away from.
From ‘Let’s rain’ (p 8), we hear:
When a poem takes form, it is to visit an unknown world for the poet to meet one who will enjoy it. A poem written in a foreign language is to make its way in a strange land , encounter people and things becoming legendaries that may be known to only a few. This kind of thought starts me wondering that words with soul and life will all experience such an exotic journey. Fatiha Morchid writes in Arabic and therefore when her poems reappear in Chinese on the paper, her poems are reborn. What makes it different is that, this time, it has chosen the land of China, where poetry once prospered. In her virtual trip, Fatiha wrote :
Take me/ Take me /To another end / Where coincidences are dates
It was in the spring of 2010 that I got to know Moroccan poet Fatiha, when we were attending the Biyearly Pottery & Poetry exhibition in Huangshan. Before the conference, I had noticed her short and exquisite poems extremely outstanding from those by the foreign poets included in the collection. I read two of her poems in English consisting of seven and eight lines respectively translated into Chinese with very few words in eleven and nine lines. In modern Chinese poetry field, I claim myself to be one promoting brevity and refinement and well known for my selection of 300 Modern Short Poems. Therefore my eyes lighted up at her short poems that are similar to Chinese classical poems of truncated style or Japanese haiku. As I read more carefully, I was amazed at her sense of delicacy and sharp image, and can’t help imagining what this lady might look like, who strongly objects to “obesity” in poetry and admire “slim” and “precision” (Fatiha).
(Unspoken, Fatiha Morchid, poems translated by Norddine Zouitni, Arab Cultural Center, 2010, 72pp)
The nexus of science, medicine and mathematics with poetry in the Arab world is more pronounced and less remarkable than in the West. The Arabs conveyed Aristotle and the other Greeks to the West but they did not contract an Aristotelian fever for categorization. Medieval Andalusian and Middle Eastern poets were often scientists, doctors and mathematicians. They were inclined to the mystical marriage of the arts and sciences. And they were astonishingly "American" in their modernist sensibility, anticipating Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams and H.D. Indeed they are Western poets, having inspired the troubadours and offered Williams the impulse towards specificity. For example, an Arab poet of the 11th Century writes of the Guadalquiver as a white hand parting a green robe, as arresting an?image as H.D. could want.?Fatiha Morchid is a pediatrician. She has published five collections of ?poetry and two novels and hosts a popular televised poetry program in Morocco. Like Algeria and Tunisia, Morocco is inextricably bound up in Andalusian poetry.
«Erotism is the approval of life up to death, and this is in the erotism of hearts as much as in the erotism of bodies.» (G. Bataille, L’erotismo, 1957)
Who believes that love is just immateriality, ideality, will never seize the vibrations of its true essence. The sensorial faculty, with the going through of corporeal worlds, recognizes the presence of the other and wraps him/her with an erotic charge which is immediate opening to life.
Fatiha Morchid came to poetry from science, which is perhaps why she seems free from a certain tendency to conform to academic poetic norms, or to indulge in obscurity and experimentation.
The impression one gets from reading the poetry of Fatiha Morchid is that of a Moroccan woman standing at the edge of a big ‘Borgesian’ mirror that not only duplicates reality in its minutiae, but creates and transforms it. One sets out on a journey from the edge of ordinary everyday reality, but slowly finds oneself turning to the world beyond – a world starting at home and extending into the so-called ‘unhomely’, which according to Hanna Arendt designates “everything that ought to have remained secret and hidden but has come to light”.
Because she did not specifically study literature, she approaches poetry with a raw, blunt-edged directness that makes the emotion all the more potent. She writes to us about the female experience in Morocco and the complex inner world of these women. There is resignation. There is hope. There is fear. There is stoic determination. This is the interior world of the survivor.
It is my sincere hope that more of Fatiha Morchid's poetry finds its way into English. She is a delight to read and meditate on- a voice with which the globe should reckon. Bravo, PIR, bring us more!