Reading "The Rain Song" by Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab – with Dona Abbadi

[download audio]

Metapsychosis #OnlyPoetry channel presents:

A guided reading and discussion of Iraqi poet Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab’s poem, “The Rain Song,” with Jordan-based author Dona Abbadi.

We begin with a Sufi song to set the mood. Then @Dona guides us through a reading of one of the most celebrated poems in 20th-century Arabic literature, helping us translate between languages and across cultural, historical, and religious contexts, to better understand and appreciate the meaning of al-Sayyab’s work.


Dona Abbadi
Marco V Morelli
Mary Thaler
Geoffrey Edwards

Primary Reading


Also See

And…is this the same poem?

The poetry of Badr Shakir Al Sayyab also appears in this recent music video by rapper I-NZ:

(…which is a adaptation of Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” nominated for “best video” in the MTV music video awards in 2018.)

All @writers are invited to join us for this event! Please RSVP below.

This post is a WIKI. You are welcome to add any further resources you may find related to Al-Sayyab.

Calendar event links:


I’m going to be there! I have just read through the poem, how beautiful it is!

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This looks really interesting, Dona. Another promise made and kept! I love it!

Just a reminder to any @writers who may be interested, this event is coming up on Friday 3/22.

Thank you, again, @Dona, for the poetic offering.


Am looking forward to this. Read the poem in English translation and bought some books about the poet…


I have a work commitment that has come up that I can’t get out of, at exactly the same time. I am really disappointed. I may be able to join you, voice only, after 14 p.m. … I will do my best.

Okay, Geoffrey. Thanks for the note!

Hi, All, I was looking forward to this and to meeting Dona. But, I don’t think I can make it today. Instead, I’ll watch the video later tonight so I can still participate. :slight_smile:

Hi @marythaler - I just logged on and saw you there, but you disappeared. I’ll be right back…

Oh, hi there! Yeah, I didn’t see anyone, so I went away again…

I’m in there now… but @Dona is not. However, I confirmed with her earlier this week, so may she’ll be here soon…

We’re back now, Mary…

That was gorgeous! I feel so lucky to have made the call, just at the right moment, too! And Marco, that was a lovely reading, in the English version, to complement Dona’s reading!


Will there be a video available for this call? Would love to see the convo if so.

Hi Heather, yes there is a recording, but we had some technical glitches and I need to stitch together the pieces to restore the whole thing. It was really a lovely interweaving exchange from my perspective, bookended by music and poetry, so I’m looking forward to putting it all together in a nicer-than-usual edit, and will share it soon. I think I’ll have time to finish it by this weekend.

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Ok. Thanks for the update! I look forward to watching it too.

The media for this event is now shared above.


After listening to the first ten minutes, I must say:

Thank you once again @Dona for your depth of simplicity and breadth of poetic expertise. I long for the day in which I can express the expressions of artists as you have accomplished with Al-Sayyab’s work. Your insights, along with @marythaler’s graceful Christian perspective (and exceptional insight in to the speaker’s intent) and @madrush’s expected contribution to the conversation (and his production/editing skills!), prepare the listener for a full course meal. Though sad that I was unable to be present, I am glad this was left to the experts!

This is an episode in “only poetry” that must be savored. Thank you.

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Thank you @madrush, @marythaler @Geoffrey_Edwards for a wonderful experience. Till today I am still thinking about this beautiful session and the readings of Sayyab’s Rain Song in both Arabic and English. Poetry is the language of human beings, and if we cannot enjoy and be able to write poetry then we stop to exist. I look forward to more sessions on other poets from different cultures. And thank you @Douggins for your beautiful words and would love to hear your reflections on future poetry readings.