The judges on the latest edition of Million's Poet, the television poetry competition, were impressed that Nasser al Ajami could be so young and so wise. "Regardless of your young age, you managed to come up with verses filled with a type of wisdom that requires long years of experience," said Hamad al Saeed, a member of the jury that voted for the Kuwaiti to advance to the final stages of the televised Nabati poetry competition.
The night's other three contestants - Sultan al Asaimar from Kuwait, Jazaa al Baqmi and Mastora al Ahmadi from Saudi Arabia - will have to await the results of popular voting to hear which two of them will qualify for the final rounds. Although he was impressed by the "beautiful call for goodness" in Mr al Ajami's poem, one jury member, Dr Ghassan al Hassan, said its idea was a bit simple and that it just "stayed in its place".
"The poem is more of a philosophy and wisdom than a personal experience," said Sultan al Amimi, another member of the jury and director of the Abu Dhabi Poetry Academy. But he praised its beautiful use of imagery. Mr al Asaimar took a different route from most poets in the contest and delivered a passionate "flirtation" poem, which was described by Mr al Amimi as the product of "obvious suffering".
Making it even more unique, the poem started with a question. Before leaving the stage, Mr al Asaimar told the audience he wished that his blind father could regain his eyesight so he could see how his children had grown over the past 10 years. From last week, the Saudi Arabian poets Hisa Helal and Falah al Moraqi won the popular vote, while Ali al Merri from Qatar was eliminated from the competition.