13 Aug 2008

I know its been a while since I sang out on here but this week has unfolded as busily as last week, only I now have space and time to breathe and smile ahead of me. And in my absence I have been capturing the sky for you.

I had my first uni assessment this morning where I gave a tutorial presentation on approaches to issues and debates in Arab culture. A topic I find continually fascinating. In my degree I have a dual major in Global Studies (basically sociology with a global/human rights focus) and in Arab, Islamic studies. People always ask me why I choose to study Arabic and Arab, Islamic studies and I guess there is no better answer than that I just find it fascinating. I am convinced that Arabic is the most beautiful language I have encountered; both in written form and spoken. Perhaps only rivalled by Farsi when recited in poetry. But let me share a little poem with you by Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish - he died on the weekend aged 67 and left behind a great legacy. He voiced the plight of his exiled people in such a beautiful and genuine way, encouraging them to move forward and find a sense of identity. I know translations cannot fully the capture his poetic voice; but I feel moved by them all the same. Here is "Now, as you awaken"

Now, as you awaken, remember the swan's
last dance. Did you dance with young angels
while you were dreaming? Did the butterfly
light you up when it burned with the eternal
light of the rose? Did the phoenix appear clearly
before you and call you by your name?
Did you see the morning dawn from the fingers
of the one you love? Did you touch
the dream with your hand or did you
leave it to dream alone, aware suddenly
of your own absence? Dreamers don't abandon
their dreams, they flare and continue
the life they have in the dream... tell me
how you lived your dream in a certain place
and I'll tell you who you are. And now,
as you awaken, remember if you have wronged
your dream. And if you have, then remember
the last dance of the swan.
On another note I seemed to really hurt my right foot yesterday (just after these were taken) the ball of my right foot just became excruciatingly painful and swelling up all red; it was rather dramatic and I thought I might have been bitten by some exotic shoe-swelling creature, alas there were no marks to be found. But I still had to hop around all night; which then set off strains and cramps in my legs. If it wasn't so painful it would have been hilarious. And I came to the conclusion that I must have stretched a muscle by not wearing my orthodics (which I often don't do), but its not so sore now and I'm just being gentle on it.
Tonight I am cutting up some lino for a top-secret and exciting project that will take shape in the next five weeks. I am also listing some lovely new blue biroish things to the shop later on - so keep those eyes peeled! Oh speaking of which - my lovely ones of the blog world; you are the apple of my eye;


  1. Emily you are brilliant! I have a very vivid memory of a rainbow artwork you did in infants which i loved and since then you have never failed to impress:)

  2. Dearest Louisa,
    Thank you for saying so... those where the days in primary school where there were no led pencils or pens in sight; it was all colour and fantastic. And do you remember the afternoons at your place we spent riding the bikes and finding those little parks (the size of an empty terrace lot)? Ah, happy memories..

  3. *sigh*

    That was a beautiful bit of poetry, and I would love to hear it recited in Arabic. Especially this morning, after a night of strange dreams that seem incredibly important and the wind outside my windows that seems so unearthly.

  4. Dearest Dove, I am glad you liked that poem... I find english translation of Arabic poetry fascinating, but you cannot get a sense of the beautiful music (or "wazin"). Funny also, how Darwish and (Qabani my other favoruite) speak so much of dreams and the kinds of motifs and images that we often think about without realising... Thank you/


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