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This is a translation of Nizar Qabbani's famous poem 'Qariat il-Finjan' (The Coffee Cup Reader aka The Fortune Teller), which was later sung by Abdel-Halim Hafez -- youtu.be/K1vggjorqGE


Intro (First two couplets from Nizar Qabbani's poem 'Qariat il-Finjan'):

جلست والخوف بعينيها
تتأمل فنجاني المقلوب
قالت يا ولدي لا تحزن
فالحب عليك هو المكتوب

Verse 1:

she sat with fear in both her eyes
ponderin the turkish coffee cup inverted
carefully she worded
destiny & time
now dont you grieve my son
for love is written for you in the signs
martyrdom for he who dies religiously
but love is blind
your coffee-cup is terrifyin
a life of travellin & battlin
a lot of love...a lot of death
a load of pain unravels
as your chasin after every woman on the planet only
to return like a defeated king - lascivious & lonely


if love is free ...
why'd a fortuneteller charge me a fee just to say that?

im free to love ...
but nobody's willing to reciprocate - i guess its payback ...

Verse 2:

in your future is a girl whose eyes alone can make you praise the lord
lips shaped like grapes - beautiful - her laugh is musical
and still the sky above's a gloomy grey that rains & pours
road blocked...dead locked...immutable...a sight unusual
the woman of your dreams sleepin in a palace tower
guarded by both dogs & soldiers - likes of which will make you cower
and the princess of your heart
in a slumber from the start
suitors lost - climbin fences to uproot her...
who'd've thought?

now i've read many palms & horoscopes before but never seen
a coffee-cup resemblin your coffee-cup...i've never seen
sorrows like the sorrows emanating from this demitasse
your destiny's to walk on dagger tips of love so many times...
the solitude of seashells & the weepin willowy wails...
leave you stuck in currents of an oceanic love for females...
the details you will love & lose a million times only
to return like a dethrone'd king - lascivious & lonely


if love is free ...
why'd a fortuneteller charge me a fee just to say that?

im free to love ...
but nobody's willing to reciprocate - i guess its payback ...

Verse 3:

i read between the lines like fortune-tellers with a coffee cup
and i aint talkin bout them frapuccinos with the frothy stuff
our peoples are of equal standing in the eyes of G_d we trust
but we're the ones who shoulder blame when errorism's army busts
im sick of askin why - wanna kick up ash n fly
when a man is rich whether in gold or knowledge he should try
treatin the poverty of other brothers with consideration
knowin that the highest form of flattery is imitation
its another iteration of the same bitter-taste with the same limitations
faint recollections of her face interlaced in
the bars of a jail where there aint visitation
man i hate bein patient - rather be the doctor
diagnose a higher dose of mea culpa - not ya
general hospital scrub in soap or opera
a local wasta connect-the-dot hopeful
qaari'at il-finjan

Outro (Last two couplets from Nizar Qabbani's poem 'Qariat il-Finjan'):

مقدورك أن تمضي أبدا
في بحر الحب بغير قلوع
وتحب ملايين المرات
وترجع كالملك المخلوع


from SyrianamericanA, released July 4, 2010
Prod. by Sandhill


all rights reserved



Omar Offendum New York, New York

Omar Offendum is a rapper / poet based in Los Angeles. Known for his unique blend of Hip-Hop & Arabic poetry, he has been featured on prominent world news outlets, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, and helped raise millions of dollars for various humanitarian relief groups. Offendum was recently named a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow for 2018 / 2019. ... more

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