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Mohamed Hilmi Al-Risheh in His New Poetry Collection “Fertilized Abysses”
Woman’s Waxen Spark and Contentment With Stumbling Sleep

*Murad Al-Sudani


After his 1999 poetry collection “Behind a Fleeing Shirt”, the poet Mohamed Hilmi Al-Risheh surfaces with “Fertilized Abysses” (2003)…where delving into what’s behind and at the depths of “Behind a Fleeing Shirt”… and going into the deepest depths necessitates leaning on more sensitive and brisk tools in order to break the language’s rock and find what is fundamental… It is escaping from the surface of things towards the depths, where contemplation is each step’s key and guide; contemplation that is inclusive of listening and silence’s effective energy, the other face of speaking… “The surface chatters while the depth listens” (Joseph Atella).

The title is but a stepping stone that opens to a contradiction and clash that awakens the sole so that its burning could be complete… For the abysses (Some Falling, Descent, Decadence)… are all constructed on the fertilization factor; let me call it the positive orbit versus the negative orbit (the abysses), through the lively argument between the descending and ascending in the experience, where the cycle of passion is completed. That is the heart of the collection.


In “The Pleasure of the Text”, Rolan Bart attempts to expose the body’s delightfulness and percolations with all its lisps and stammering, where there is sailing in its heights and lows, its routes and slopes, its arches and curvatures, as well as its sharp and hot circles…. all in an attempt to capture the melting of desire and its pouring.

Perhaps “The Pleasure of the Text” constitutes an opening for the text of pleasure in many of the delightful writing and its concealed intelligent magic… The text that poet Mohamed Hilmi Al-Rishe executed in not the last of texts to be held up by pleasure, in its delicious and deceitful net.


In an examination and tracking of the collection’s text, we read: “Butterflies’ Wax...in Their Miniature Evening”, “Long Before Me...Long After Him”, “Pears of the Extremes”, “Simithia: Dull Longing on A Couch”, “Houses of The Captivating Wound”, “I’m not in Any Place.. Oh Rose”, “Like a Dry Sleep in Fresh Dreams”, “Like the Empty Sky”, “There is a Cage…It Doesn’t Work for Planting Isolation”, “The Fever of an Ink Night”, “Sleep’s Fruits”, “Shadow in Darkness…Whiteness in Silk”, “I Found Her Oh Grandmother: She is I… I am her”, “No Femininity Touched me Before Her…Except Her”, and finally, “Postponed Honey in Roses’ Whinnying”.

A band that takes the poet’s rosary apart, with all its colored beards and its plundering luster…There is a certain seductive rhythm, obsessed with text titles, burning with yearning and burning the bound of moist drought. It is the effort to pick “sleep’s fruit” despite fresh dreams…and an attempt to plant isolation where the cages are roses vases and “homes of their captivating wound” towards the whiteness of silk that passes through the shadow of darkness only to drip the postponed honey, sprinkled by the whinnying of roses for he tries to “open the rose’s folds to its hot bud”.

In his collection, the poet opens with a poetics, intertwined, and sometimes complex picture passion’s realm as if he were one of its expositors and those who pass through its veiled mazes… I see him as beauty’s boy scout and that who is penetrating into the details of “the dull longing on a couch” in the “empty sky”.

Loaded with loneliness, seclusion, and poetry tools, he stares into the essence of the woman to see himself only to scream: “I Found Her… Oh Grandmother: She is I…and I Am Her”. Is it his trip in search for himself and her? While they are the one that has been split into two pains; in the body’s trip to the body, his road is feminine-like with hard sleepiness and insomnia’s alienation… He fine tunes his soul’s fluctuating cords on the blaze of waiting and postponed moments, his heart’s rays rising and landing on the woman’s bed with her details, summons, and desirous defiance… We read a language overflowing with what is hidden and forgone so the “captivating wound” oozes and the woman’s beauties are exposed a sharp silk whiteness…

The poet mobilized his poetic energies and his collective blazing of sentiments to become in Muthafar Al-Nawab’s language, “under the breasts [lies] a vase” and “like a virile pigeon in an abandoned mountain”… and in Mahmoud Darwish’s words: “when the soul becomes shortly before passion, by a second of chaos”.

The poet induces sleep so it declines…he exercises the sport of expelling memories and apprehensions, using the help of cigarette rolls and coffee’s hena so he abstains from sleeping and dreams with their visitors don’t come… So he falls in the madness of awakening and wakefulness storms him… Two prose were singled out to dismantle the poet’s sleep in his poetry collection: “Like a Dry Sleep in Fresh Dreams” and “Sleep’s Fruits”… It is sleep then that arouses his dears and their mountainous rebellion… he tries a sleep that he does not try.. then he admits: “Sleep is King except over me”… and then wonders: “who can dismantle sleep; year by year, nap by nap, and dream by dream… so that I could violate its secrets?”.. It is distress and the completion of sleep’s conspiracy against the poet… an absolutely overt battle… scandalous and injurious… assaults and retreats, an attempt, luring, camouflage, and an armed sentimental confrontation… then comes the question, injurious: “Why does sleep nap… without me?”.
From “the senses’ nest” dream’s sedated rose flies with “the pale moon, the meager lamp in the poet’s room, and the cat’s meow in its desire”. He says: “I turn off everything around me”… Is turning everything off the poet’s attempt to turn off the body and rest it with sleep?! Perhaps.. And in Al-Nawab’s words: “So I answered as a fire put off in a plane… It’s me Oh homeland”… for sleep is that deceitful miserly… “disappointment’s beautiful friend” and at the end, something worries the poet so it spreads like language’s electricity to burn with the soul’s candle and its melting into “the book of intoxications”, turning the text into another sleep, wakefulness’ activator and awake guardian… He says: “Even you… Oh you text that is regaining misery.. you tempt me away from my sleep!”… The text is the cause of the port’s misery and levy of his sadness.

The poet’s attempts at sleep fail for what will make him sleep and who is it that would such an achievement: “I love her.. I love her… That woman who gifts me sleep as a prize for my efforts for her!”.

She is the woman, any woman… She is the one he loves; he grants her his poetic gifts and waxen sparks…with absolute gratification overflowing with his stumbling sleep.


In the context of the prose experience, the poet Mohamed Hilmi Al-Risheh’s collection represents a distinguished mark and a shining spot of light in the (prose writers’) haze… On the axle of the poetic picture, stitched with mind’s needle and the heart’s smarts, building the collection’s text was built on delving into the language to the bounds of extremes and the derivations of the seducing speech and the seductive as well as the terms of invention and desire of writing inventiveness… a poetry collection that deserves praise despite the creativity color-blindness of many… For that reason, we will have a second reading soon to this collection, in other contexts.

* Poet from Palestine.
** Mohamed Hilmi AL-Risheh: “Fertilized Abysses” – Poetic verses, Al-Majed Publishing and Distribution House in cooperation with the Palestinian Institute for National Guidance, Ramallah, 2003.