Monday, October 26, 2015

Anna Akhmatova and Naomi Shihab Nye (Mother Teresa, Mahmoud Darwish, Suleiman Mansour)

Naomi Shihab Nye: 'The Space Between Our Footsteps'  
and  Anna Akhmatova: 'Lot's Wife'  

   searching, again, through household closets for 'yellow-page syndrome' (yellowed and smelly poetry books - strong allergenic responses from Judith, Frosty, Tama and I). . .      dismaying, there are so many. . .  
   yet, found!  moments within poems, cleansing, humbling, a certain wondrousness. . . here, succinctly as (I) can be (not easy), two poems (and a painting) -
   from Naomi Shihab Nye's
The Space Between our Footsteps  Poems and Paintings from the Middle East, poet Mahmoud Darwish's 'Give Birth To Me Again That I May Know' (with Suleiman Mansour's painting Mother Palestine), and, first, from Anna Akhmatova's Poem Without a Hero and Selected Poems, her poem 'Lot's Wife'. . .

Lot's Wife
And the just man trailed God's shining agent,
over a black mountain, in his giant track,
while a restless voice kept harrying his woman:
"It's not too late, you can still look back

at the red towers of your native Sodom,
the square where once you sang, the spinning-shed,
at the empty windows set in the tall house
where sons and daughters blessed your marriage-bed."

A single glance: a sudden dart of pain
stitching her eyes before she made a sound . . .
Her body flaked into transparent salt,
and her swift legs rooted to the ground.

Who will grieve for this woman? Does she not seem
too insignificant for our concern?
Yet in my heart I never will deny her,
who suffered death because she chose to turn.

(translated by Max Hayward and Stanley Kunitz) 
(yes, you and I, we grieve for this woman)


Mother Palestine,
Suleiman Mansour

Give Birth to Me Again That I May Know
by Mahmoud Darwish

Give birth to me again.    Give birth to me again that I may know
         in which land I will die, in which land I will come to life again.
Greetings to you as you light the morning fire, greetings to you,
         greetings to you.
Isn’t it time for me to give you some presents, to return to you?
Is your hair still longer than our years, longer than the trees of clouds
         stretching the sky to you so they can live?
Give birth to me again so I can drink the country’s milk from you and
         remain a little boy in your arms, remain a little boy
For ever.  I have seen many things, mother, I have seen.  Give birth to
         me again so you can hold me in your hands.
When you feel love for me, do you still sing and cry about nothing?
          Mother! I have lost my hands
On the waist of a woman of a mirage. I embrace sand, I embrace a
          shadow. Can I come back to you/to myself?
Your mother has a mother, the fig tree in the garden has clouds.
          Don’t leave me alone, a fugitive.  I want your hands
To carry my heart.  I long for the bread of your voice, mother!
          I long for everything. I long for myself    I long for you.
translated by Abdullah al-Udhari

speaking with ass't ed's Frosty and Tama as they review our work, asking, just what does this post have to do with haiku?  



They reply, in unison, 'everything' 

      see you in a moment

    ayaz daryl nielsen


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