‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.


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The past few days have seen a resurgence of violence and death in the middle east. I was listening to two different perspectives on NPR last night and both offered up their views on the conflict. Both claimed peace and a desire for their children to grow up in a healthy and safe environment, yet both also stated that they would defend themselves by whatever means were necessary. It is a conflict that I do not see ever ending. So rather than go on an extended political rant of these issues and this side versus that side I will offer up another way to understand their points of view.

The two poems  below are from two poetry collections written by respective individuals from each culture: Jewish and Islamic. Yuhuda Amichai, one of Israel’s most popular literary figures & Mahmoud Darwish considered to be the Palestinian national poet. Incidentally, Mahmoud Darwish read Amichai in Hebrew growing up and also wanted to write a history and culture of his people into his own works of poetry. Even though both men are of different faith and have different politics it is fascinating to read their works and see that through their literature and poetry they wish to achieve and create the same things. One hopes that more people will read their works and see that it is possible for people of different faith and culture to co-exist peacefully and work towards a common goal.

I Belong There

I belong there. I have many memories. I was born as everyone is born.
I have a mother, a house with many windows, brothers, friends, and a prison cell
with a chilly window! I have a wave snatched by seagulls, a panorama of my own.
I have a saturated meadow. In the deep horizon of my word, I have a moon,
a bird's sustenance, and an immortal olive tree.
I have lived on the land long before swords turned man into prey.
I belong there. When heaven mourns for her mother, I return heaven to
   her mother.
And I cry so that a returning cloud might carry my tears.
To break the rules, I have learned all the words needed for a trial by blood.
I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
   single word: Home.
- I Belong There - Unfortunately, It was Paradise - Selected Poems - Mahmoud Darwish - 

A Quiet Joy

I'm standing in a place where I once loved.
The rain is falling. The rain is my home.

I think words of longing: a landscape
out to the very edge of what's possible.

I remember you waving your hand
as if wiping mist from the windowpane,

and your face, as if enlarged
from an old blurred photo.

Once I committed a terrible wrong
to myself and others.

But the world is beautifully made for doing good
and for resting, like a park bench.

And late in life I discovered
a quiet joy
like a serious disease that's discovered too late:

just a little time left now for quiet joy.
- A Quiet Joy - The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai - Yehuda Amichai -

Written by thebeliever07

December 30, 2008 at 12:56 pm

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