Syrian poets throughout the world : Omar Abu-Riche

Historically Syria is considered to be a cradle of culture and art. In particular, Syrians, throughout the years, were known for their genuine love and knowledge for poetry and language.
The search and exploration of a refined vocabulary,  a sort of competition among the different poets,  defines the production of Syrian poetry, intended to praise, to express love, suffering or to describe anything of value to the « Poet » or to the people.

Omar Abu-Riche
Omar Abu-Riche

Omar Abu-Riche (10 April 1910 – 15 July 1990) was an influential Syrian poet known for his pioneering works. He was born into a wealthy literary family in Manbij, near Aleppo.
He received his educational upbringing in Syria and continued his tertiary studies at the University of Damascus. He joined the American University of Beirut in 1924.
He was known as a preacher, poet and playwright before he was 18 years old.
He traveled to England in 1929 to study the chemistry of dyes and fabric in Manchester, but apparently, during this time, poetry readings became a major interest for him.

He was a very cultivated man, keen on English literature (Shakespeare, Shelley, Keats, Milton, Tennyson, Browning, Bo, Gray);  he also studied Baudelaire who was his favorite poet.
In this period of his life, Omar published a long poem entitled « The End of Love« , a poem related to a true love story.

His diplomatic experience, which brought him closer to a number of nations and people, triggered him to learn new languages;  some say he was proficient in six languages or more, and that he refused to read translated poetry. This language skills enabled him to read a wide variety of literary productions.
On his return from England, he was appointed director of the National Library of Aleppo .
He remained in this post until 1949, when he joined the diplomatic corps where he pursued a remarkable career (he was ambassador in Chile, Argentina, Brezil, Austria, USA, India).
He was appointed as reporter for the Arabic Language Academy in Damascus in 1948 and he received important cultural awards.Omar Abu-Riche was definitely an influential and inspiring man in many and diverse fields such as culture, art, philanthropy.
His home town is known for being a home of many artists and poets of all times.

The poem that we present here is a strong image for our Arabic culture and the present nation suffering.
Syrian people are proud of their culture and how they were influencing the world with their talent and knowledge !

One of his most famous poems were translated into English:

Ya Arous almajd 
Bride of Glory

« O bride of glory, be proud and drag the tails of meteors in our feasts
You shall not see a handful of sand above it that has not been scented by the blood of honest man
The right never dies no matter how the opposed usurper grip strangled it
O bride of glory it’s been so long, Since the estranged felt the ache and nostalgie
Our generations were intoxicated in their pride and slumbered through the schemes of a fluctuating era
Upon awakening we found our necks burdened with the chains of strangers
We called for you and heard nothing but a moan from your depressed chest
We have realized your precious dowry, But we did not value it and we lost count
We carried you the wreath of loyalty, And we treaded on the greatness of distress
We offered our blood for freedom, So scoop and drink as you need
Wipe away the tears of orphans and smile,touch the wound of The sorrowful and sing
From weakness We build strength, That shall not lean to the flaming trolls. »

Omar abu riche poetry in Arabic


Some of his collections include:
Poetic collection «I sang in my funeral», Damascus, 1971
Poetry collection «Inspired by Women», Damascus, 1984
In other languages:
In English, « Roving Along », House of Scouts, 1959
His plays:
The play «Dhi Qar», Aleppo, 1931
The plays of « The Poet’s Court, Semiramis, Taj Mahal, The Flood, Operett Azab »

Meet another syrian poet : Nizar Qabbani 

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