Mahjoub Sherif
The contemporary poet and teacher Mahjoub Sherif often writes in colloquial Arabic, mixing observations on everyday life and politics with love songs and poems for children. He has also been detained for long periods under Sudan's military dictators. Even in the remote western desert prison at Shalla he continued writing lyrics that became songs of resistance. Many have been set to music by Mohammed Wardi.


Poem by Mahjoub Sherif
Hey, buffoon!
Cling tightly!
Beware falling apart!
Beware and be alert!
Bend your ears to every sign of movement
Keep watch on your own shadow
and, when the leaves rustle,
Shut yourself off and keep still!
Life is so dangerous, buffoon.
Open fire!
Bullets aimed at everything
every word uttered
every breeze passing
without your permission
My lord buffoon.
Instruct the sparrows,
the village lanterns,
the towns' windows,
every whispering blade of grass
to report to you.
As police, let the ants infiltrate
and build the security state
Ask the raindrops
to write their reports,