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Said Akl (1912 - 2014)

A great poet who joined in his works Classicism, Romanticism and Symbolism in an individual style of writing founded on a pyramid of originality, innovation and aesthetics. His prose is known for its ingenuity. He is to Lebanon a symbol of splendor, joy and pride. He worked as a teacher and journalist and called for the adoption of the Lebanese colloquial language in Latin letters, which he used to publish Yara (poetry) and Loubnan (newspaper). He is the founder of the party of Al Tabadou’iyyah Al Loubnaniah (The Lebanese Genius) and co-founder of the Front of Freedom and Man. He set up a prize in his name for outstanding talents. He has written many works on theology, patriotism, politics, philosophy, poetry and arts in general.

His poetical works include Rindala, Ajmalou Minki? La (More Beautiful than You? No), Ajrass Al Yasameen (The Jasmine Bells), Kitabou Al Ward (The Book of Roses), Doulza, Qassa'ed min Daftariha (Poems from Her Notebook), Kama Al A'mida (Like Pillars), Nahtoun fi Al Daw' (Carving in Light), Sharar (Sparks)...

He has written three plays in poetic form: The Daughter of Jephthah, The Magdalena and Cadmus.

His published prose includes Loubnan in Haka (If Lebanon were to Speak).

He has also published a number of lectures and articles.

Minister Gaby Layoune honors Mr.Said Akl, (8/22/2011)

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Extracts from "If Lebanon were to Speak" (You can order the Book by the author)
(Translated by Rula Baalbaki and Ahmad Ghaddar)

A tour in Lebanon - Lebanon, the Civilization - may be the most beautiful thing any person is granted.

Do I perhaps exaggerate?

Let our fellow travelers judge.

In an infinitesimally small fraction of time, a matter of few minutes, we will span spheres of years each time we travel, traversing the life of a great entity, upon which the destiny of humanity depended.

What is Literature?

It is the entrapment of eternity in a word, a sip of wine, a mere drop that intoxicates the mind.

But we will not visit everything.

Because everything here is larger than an ocean; larger than eternity.

Here, huge volumes of history will keep awaiting their writer, and these shores and hills will keep boasting invaluable institutions that were founded on them.

It was the beginning, as though in the beginning It came into being. It sprang from earth; sometimes it was started by individuals whose fingers molded the world.

Right here, a handful of those gods of knowledge were born; here they spoke; here they worked.

Wandering around these rocks or those hills will transport you to the stars or give you possession of the world in mere moments.

Under each grain of the earth on which you step everyday lies a tale of glory. It is a chapter in the history of love and giving, or it may merely be a part of civilization.

Who knows the story? Who knows how to recount it? Two... three... four people at most. As for the two million (Census of Lebanese residents in 1960) Lebanese, they experience, every single moment, a beauty beyond compare, a beauty they do not acknowledge.

Alas! Perchance we will be fortunate enough to recount our unique tales to visitors? Tales that are of concern to all humanity; tales of the human condition. Such tales are of concern to their owners too, because they take them back to a time of wonder during which that entity, which was later named Man, was being shaped.

Where do we begin our journey?

We are not on any road here. We are rather inside the mind. Hence, we are free. So let's move in the manner we please.

I visited it before I existed

Here we are, by chance, in Sidon.

What do we care what other people know about it? People know that Sidon has 40.000 inhabitants, and is, as all our ancient ports, situated on a cape with an islet in the forefront. At the onset of summer, the perfume of orange blossoms, from the many groves, fills the air and carries you in a dream to the Gardens of Aphrodite.

We shall not deal with such details. Nor shall we expose its heroic past - but perchance we may revisit some of its endearing pages. Nor shall we turn to its role in instilling beauty and taste during its heyday when its stores, compared to those of modern day Paris, were frequented by, as Pierre Hupac will have it, the well-to-do beauties, daughters of rulers and monarchs, who come from the four corners of the earth to buy their jewelry or other fineries for their trousseaus.

Let us depart from the dreary systematic acquaintance with Sidon, and settle for the unfolding of a certain scene.

Have you heard of Pythagoras?

How could you not have heard of him? You met him in your early school years through the geometry theorem that bears his name.

If you happen to be a man of learning, then he will accompany you for the rest of your life, for he is one of the most exalted minds of all time. Revered by Plato, as no other man has been, and held in the highest regard by Aristotle. Philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, musician, theologian, explorer, and politician, he made all religions that sprang after him indebted to him. Indebted to him as well was every doctrine of thought, ethics, and art.

His father was one of the greatest jewelers in Samos, an Aegean island in the spectacular Greek archipelago. His mother was the beautiful Pythais. It has been said, on the eve of their extravagant wedding, the couple had their fortune told by the priestess of Delphi who prophesied that they would beget "a son who would be a harbinger of virtue to all humanity, and for all generations," on condition that their marriage is consummated in the most dazzling of cities, a polis of suavity and intellectuality, and the capital of the world. Then, the priestess' lips pronounced the name of that city, "Sidon!''
.... ...etc...

The Tragedy of Pythagoras

Here we are in Damour.

A town that sits among the remains of berry meadows and the monastery of St. Joseph, looking like a bunch of grapes, immense and crystalline, which the giant left on the foot of the mountain. Some people take pleasure in tracing the origin of the word Damour to Damouras, the father of Melkart, god of heroism.

As the Franks of the middle ages, they fancied the name because of its connection with the French word amour, or love.

But a very old man who belonged to one of Damour's oldest families used to smile at such allusions, until the time of his death. He puts them down as words that only demean the great town.

Upon being asked for his own interpretation, he would withdraw into silence.

What will follow is a painful tale about the end of Pythagoras, nay, the tragedy of Pythagoras. The tale of a book and a phial of tears that his young daughter carried to Lebanon.

When as a child Pythagoras was leaving Lebanon, for his father's homeland, Prenetice bade farewell to its shores, saying,

"How I wish we were to stay in Lebanon, calm and beautiful Lebanon."
.... ...etc...

تحية "الجريدة" الى شاعر العصر في عيد ميلاده المئوي سعيد عقل الشاعر الملك

لبنان في شعر سعيد عقل - منشورات جامعة اللويزة

Interview: A la rencontre de Saïd Akl - Rima Najm

Profile in Arabic
Poetry in Arabic by Said Akl
More: Book Introduction: Kadmous
More: The Prophet was there... Said Akl of Lebanon
Yara - Book



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