Ṭarafah ibn al-‘Abd ibn Sufyān ibn Sa‘d Abū ‘Amr al-Bakrī al-Wā’ilī (c. 543 – c. 569) was an Arabian poet of the tribe of the Bakr. He is one of the seven poets of the most celebrated anthology of ancient Arabic poetry, known as the Mo'allakat, however just one of his poems is included.
The Poem of Tarafa (translated by William Alexander Clouston in 1881)
- While I spoke thus to myself, my companions stopped their coursers by my side, and said, "Perish not through despair, but act with fortitude."
Ah, said I, the vehicles which bore away my fair one on the morning when the tribe of Malec departed, and their camels were traversing the banks of Deda, resembled large ships
Sailing from Aduli; or vessels of the merchant Ibn Yamin, which the mariner now turns obliquely, and now steers in a direct course;
Ships, which cleave the foaming waves with their prows, as a boy at his play divides with his hand the collected earth.In that tribe was a lovely antelope, with black eyes, dark ruddy lips, and a beautiful neck, gracefully raised to crop the fresh berries of erac—a neck adorned with two strings of pearls and topazes.
She strays from her young, and feeds with the herd of roes in the tangled thicket, where she browses the edges of the wild fruit, and covers herself with a mantle of leaves.
She smiles, and displays her bright teeth, rising from their dark-coloured bases, like a privet-plant in full bloom, which pierces a bank of pure sand moistened with dew:
To her teeth the sun has imparted his brilliant water; but not to the part where they grow, which is sprinkled with lead-ore, while the ivory remains unspotted.
Her face appears to be wrapped in a veil of sunbeams; unblemished is her complexion, and her skin is without a wrinkle.
- translated by William Alexander Clouston, quoted in Arabian Poetry, p. 17-18, First Stanza, lines 1-10
- William Alexander Clouston: Arabian Poetry, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 1881