A Brief Introduction to Moroccan Poet Fatiha Morchid



By Sabne Raznik:

Poetry International Web has done a great service to English readers of poetry by providing translations of a small selection of the work of Fatiha Morchid. Translations are inherently inferior to original languages where poetry is concerned. The music of the mother language is lost. Often, exactness must be sacrificed for readability. Especially is this so concerning idioms, puns, and those lines which contain multiple meanings at once. If one is proficient enough in the mother tongue- in this case Arabic- it is certainly preferable to read the poems as they were written. Poetry International Web (PIW) posts the originals to the left of the translations for this purpose and for comparison. Also, the full oeuvre would be available for one to consider if one was familiar with the original language. Unfortunately, English is currently the only language in which I am remotely proficient. The translations that PIW provides is enough to whet one’s appetite, however.

Fatiha Morchid was born March 14, 1958. She received her doctorate in medicine in 1985, and specializes in pediatery. 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.

Take for example the struggle depicted in A Swing:

On the choice swing

Fear hurls me

Into the bosom of “No”

Desire grows for “Certainly”

Persistence rebels

“No”, “A thousand times no”

then, “Aye”, “Certainly”

. . . and “Why not”

I run away from the decision guillotine

To embrace “Perhaps”

While . . .

While . . .

© 2004, Fatiha Morchid

Translation: Norddine Zouitni

Even in closing, the thoughts and emotions here remain unresolved as demonstrated by the hanging, pausing effect of the ellipses. In Jealousy, Morchid grapples with the twisted anguish of sharing one’s spouse or of finding oneself replaced by an Other. This bleeding rage is intensified by the suggestion perhaps that the woman speaking has discovered this Other by reading the newspaper: “O! would I were/ The very ink/ In this newspaper.”

Not all is pain in this place, though. There is an unrestrained joy in Sailing:

I and the sea here

Your breath

In a cell-phone

. . . carries me


a sail,

without astrolabe

and the horizon your eyes . . .

© 2004, Fatiha Morchid

Translation: Norddine Zouitni

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!


Jul 2, 2008voices.yahoo.com