Natan Zach || The End of the World

Natan Zach ||

The End of the World

                                    translated by Vivian Eden

Completely at random, the world ended.
Trade in shares was lively, the weather splendid.
Lovers lay in beds and some on the sand.
Artists painted nature, if not the lay of the land.
Professors wrinkled brows and wrote of weighty things.
The season was any season: fall and also spring.

W. H. Auden || Refugee Blues

W. H. Auden ||

Refugee Blues


Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

*

Source

For Hebrew, press here


Fady Joudah || Two Poems

Fady Joudah || 

Two Poems

  Sleeping Trees

Between what should and what should not be
Everything is liable to explode. Many times
I was told who has no land has no sea. My father
Learned to fly in a dream. This is the story
Of a sycamore tree he used to climb
When he was young to watch the rain.
 
Sometimes it rained so hard it hurt. Like being
Beaten with sticks. Then the mud would run red.
 
My brother believed bad dreams could kill
A man in his sleep, he insisted
We wake my father from his muffled screams
On the night of the day he took us to see his village.
No longer his village he found his tree amputated.
Between one falling and the next
 
There’s a weightless state. There was a woman
Who loved me. Asked me how to say tree
In Arabic. I didn’t tell her. She was sad. I didn’t understand.
When she left. I saw a man in my sleep three times. A man I knew
Could turn anyone into one-half reptile.
I was immune. I thought I was. I was terrified of being
 
The only one left. When we woke my father
He was running away from soldiers. Now
He doesn’t remember that night. He laughs
About another sleep, he raised his arms to strike a king
And tried not to stop. He flew
But mother woke him and held him for an hour,
 
Or half an hour, or as long as it takes a migration inward.
Maybe if I had just said it.
Shejerah, she would’ve remembered me longer. Maybe
I don’t know much about dreams
But my mother taught me the law of omen. The dead
Know about the dying and sometimes
Catch them in sleep like the sycamore tree
My father used to climb
 
When he was young to watch the rain stream,
And he would gently swing.


SOURCE
***

The Tea and Sage Poem

At a desk made of glass,
In a glass walled-room
With red airport carpet,
 
An officer asked
My father for fingerprints,
And my father refused,
 
So another offered him tea
And he sipped it. The teacup
Template for fingerprints.
 
My father says, it was just
Hot water with a bag.
My father says, in his country,
 
Because the earth knows
The scent of history,
It gave the people sage.
 
I like my tea with sage
From my mother’s garden,
Next to the snapdragons
 
She calls fishmouths
Coming out for air. A remedy
For stomach pains she keeps
 
In the kitchen where
She always sings.
First, she is Hagar
 
Boiling water
Where tea is loosened.
Then she drops
 
In it a pinch of sage
And lets it sit a while.
She tells a story:
 
The groom arrives late
To his wedding
Wearing only one shoe.
 
The bride asks him
About the shoe. He tells her
He lost it while jumping
 
Over a house-wall.
Breaking away from soldiers.
She asks:
 
Tea with sage
Or tea with mint?
 
With sage, he says,
Sweet scent, bitter tongue.
She makes it, he drinks.


Source


MIDDLE EAST
  • Iran’s Messianic War

    The Islamic revolution, which brought the ayatollahs to power in Iran, awakened messianic demons from their sleep. The rulers dreamed of a greater Iran and acted to export the revolution beyond their borders.

    The decay in the Arab world

    With great sadness, it can be said that in the absence of a sane civil alternative, the Arab world will continue along this path.

    Read more


  • The Massacre of Arab Nationalism

    It must be admitted that the siege imposed on Gaza ever since Hamas took power there isn’t just an Israeli siege. It’s also an Arab one – because a single Egyptian decision would be enough to break the siege on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

    A Feeble Middle East

    The West learned on its own flesh that this region conducts itself by other codes. Iran has continued to entrench its standing by means of its religious ideology. The toppling of Saddam Hussein shattered the illusion of the existence of a unifying “Iraqi identity” .

    Read more

  • Neither Arab nor Spring

    The vicissitudes that have, for some reason, been collectively dubbed the "Arab Spring" are neither Arab nor Spring. One can say that they are actually living proof of the identity crisis and reverberating bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

    Read more

ESSAYS
  • Welcome Back to History

    Islam, like other imperialist ideologies, still needs enemies to flourish. Enemies have served Islam in the past as fuel for its wagons. Without enemies Islam declines and stagnates...

    Read more

  • The pit and the pendulum

    In those days, we did not drink four goblets of wine, because everything that gladdens the human heart is not a part of our custom.

    Read more

ISRAEL - PALESTINE
  • Solomon’s Mosque

    Religion, every religion, is the No. 1 enemy of nationalism. But under conditions of tension, such as tribal warfare, these polar opposites combine into a toxic soup that consumes all common sense.

    Read more


  • Never-ending tragedy

    The Israeli right, in all its forms, wants exclusively Jewish control over all of the Land of Israel. To the Palestinians who live in this space, it promises residency – temporary, of course, on condition that they keep their heads down, accept their designated status and behave accordingly.

    Read more
  • Hamas in the service of Israel

    Hamas rule isn’t the enemy of the Israeli right. Au contraire, it’s the loyal servant of all the right-wing governments. Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War, all Israeli governments have devoted all their time and energy to fighting the Palestinian national movement

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מיון החומרים

Arab spring (16) Arabs in Israel (46) Art (1) Education (9) Elections (24) environment (1) Essays (10) Islam (4) Israel-Palestine (49) Jerusalem (8) Mid-East (79) Poetry (38) Prose (5) Racism (58) Songs (3) Women (5)

Archive

Selected Topics

CULTURE
  • Martin Niemöller

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialist
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist.


    Read More

  • Salman Masalha

    Vanishes into mist
    Roams like rain that pours
    He’s holding in his fist
    A book from years of yore
    Appears, then is no more
    Like dew in the day’s first blush
    In stories shared aloud
    His soul behind a door
    Half his heart is melted cloud
    The other half is crushed
  • Balkrishna Sama

    He who loves flowers, has a tender heart.
    he who cannot pluck their blooms,
    has a heart that's noble.

    Read more

Tags

Arab spring (16) Arabs in Israel (46) Art (1) Education (9) Elections (24) environment (1) Essays (10) Islam (4) Israel-Palestine (49) Jerusalem (8) Mid-East (79) Poetry (38) Prose (5) Racism (58) Songs (3) Women (5)