Thank you, Maria--for introducing me to May Sayigh, especially. The plight
of the Palestinian people is worn with such grace by these poets (Darwish &
Singh), and they move me to tears even as I express my sympathy for the
Israeli people too. I refuse to let myself be divided between them--and the
sense of complexity that won't allow any simple polarization in me is
illustrated, perhaps, by the complicated life led by a colleague of mine in
Israel--a South African Jew who married an Israeli and emigrated. Last I
heard she was very ill and involved in a terrible custody battle over their
children following divorce. There are so many sides to anyone's life as to
beggar belief and shame judgment--Candice
on 4/19/02 10:10 PM, maria fletcher at [log in to unmask] wrote:
> "...gender essentialism is a diversion from looking at how our actions
> are shaped by our cultural histories and our bigotries."
> I agree Christopher, (I think!) and offer the following poem as an
> example of a poetic response - an _action_ shaped, not by gender, but by
> the _cultural history_ (in this case, Palestinian) experience of the
> writer. That the poet is female, invites a separate theoretical reading
> which for me is an unnecessary diversion from the poetry.
> May Sayigh - palestinian poet
> In this moment of departure,
> point your red arrows,
> disarm the lightning, and open wide
> the gate to my exile.
> Close the sky's open face, and ride away.
> I long so deeply that the shores unfold their seas
> and horses bolt!
> Now I'll carry the roads and palm trees in my suitcase,
> I'll lock my tears in the evening's copybooks
> and seal the seasons.
> Let's begin our song: here is Beirut wearing you
> like her own clothes.
> You must sit well on the surface of her glory
> abandoning tears
> In her blue froth
> She contains you like eternity
> like the sense of beginning that comes with certainty
> -How can you be dead, yet so absolutely present ?
> Let the rivers abandon their skies,
> and the seas dry out !
> Everything in the universe has an end
> except my spilt blood...
> Each time I think of it
> You remain as large as your death.
> The war planes choose you, discover you, plant
> their blackness in you.
> From all those clouded last visions,
> how will you begin the story of harvest?
> We planes select you,
> at the start of your sleep,
> at the end of your sleep.
> How often did the sky explode over you
> with hatred?
> How often were you taken aside?
> How many massacres did you survive ?
> Now you collect all the wounds, taking refuge with
> wearing dreams as wings.
> Interestingly, a review of Darwish's first collection in exile, Uhibbuki
> aw la Uhibbuki (I love you, I love you not, 1972)also picks up key terms
> of "wounds" and "death".
> "...words, pictures, memory, and dreams join those of wounds and death
> as key terms in Darwish's poetic diction. In the working of dream and
> memory the body of the beloved female blends imperceptibly with that of
> the homeland until they become virtually indistinguishable."
> Quote taken from Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians: Biography of Mahmoud
> Darwish to be found at:
> Information on May Sayigh can be found at:
> Maria Fletcher