Mahri Poetry Archive



Recited performances of Mahri poems are those that are neither sung nor chanted collectively.  Recited performances carry none of the social significance that collective chants do, nor are they esteemed as aesthetic acts as sung poems are.  Mahra will generally respond to a request to deliver (Ar. ʾalqā) a poem with a recitation, since it is the easiest and quickest way to satisfy the curiosity of a foreign researcher.  A poem that is recited in the absence of melody may be referred to using the Arabic term for prose: nathr.  Despite the fact that recitations do not carry the same degree of prestige that collective and sung performances do, certain Mahri “virtuosos” are distinguished by their ability to recite incredible amounts of Mahri poetry at high speeds.  Such performances, however, are meant to display the remarkable memory of the transmitter rather than the aesthetic or historical merit of individual poems (which may be rendered virtually incomprehensible when delivered under high speed).  The following is one such performance that I recorded in Jāḏeb in October 2003:


Ideally, no poem in Mahri should be recited since all Mahri poems may be sung, and singing is the esteemed mode of performance.  However, due to the constraints of time and singing ability, most Mahra settle on recitations in informal settings.



Exchanged Dāndān: Prophetic Poetry

Homesick in Najrān


Nuṣṣ ḳṣīdet:

I Want To Write A Line (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #8)

Desire (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #9)

Her Looks and Figure (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #11)


Qaṣīda ghināʾiyya:

Beautiful, Everything About You is Beautiful (Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn #15)

Watch Out and Be Warned (Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn #16)

I’m Not to Blame (Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn #17)



Exchanged Reǧzīt: The Waning Years of the ʿAfrārī Sulṭānate



Fāten and the Moon (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #10)

The Girls Have Abandoned Their Honor

Jamīla and the Sulṭān

She’s a Work of Art


Unmarked Genre:

Asking A Mother’s Permission

The Charm of Old Age

The Epic of ʿAnzī, ʿĪsā Kedḥayt’s Pickup Truck

Fed Up With Mahri

I Think They Ate My Cow

Legal Proceeding in Poetry: Divorce and Remarriage

A Message from Sinǧēr

A Prayer for a Favor

A Slippery Father

The Trials and Rewards of Fieldwork


Unmarked Genre from the Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn:

For A Long Time (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #1)

Everyday I Come Complaining (Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn #2)

I Want to Ask the Wedding Party (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #3)

O My Love (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #4)

Passion for the Ladies (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #5)

I Used To Think Man Could Endure (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #6)

Why Are You Working In A Dust Cloud? (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #7)

You Are My Death (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #12)

Enough, My Heart (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #13)

Leave My Darling Be (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #14)

O My Eyes (Dīwān Ḥājj Dākōn #18)



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