Poems from the Middle East (June 2023)

Susan’s Thursday morning Note June 29, 2023
Poems from the Middle East

Good morning!  Little wrens are full of life this morning, breaking any idea for their friends in their nests to sleep in after their sleepless night of thunder and rain.  Our little birds will be a little off key today for lack of sleep and irritation of their nests being wet and messy.  Faithfully, my angel of dawn quietly stands at my window.  Peering quietly in.  Asking me to open my door and accept her gift of this beautiful day.  Encouraging me early this morning to look past my world, reflect on thoughts outside of my present moment, look to the heavens to show that today only plays a few notes of my song called life.  Showing me what gifts are given already this morning if I will only take the time to look.  The little frog.  The closed petals showing their treasures inside are choosing to sleep in this morning after the short rain, the moon still showing his faithfulness in the distance.  All gifts to keep showing life is beautiful. 

A little book sits here quietly.  A little treasure awaits my writing from this morning.  The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.  I will write out for you a few of the poems that I slowly read a second time to absorb.  Realizing as I read them that I had just read words that could find a place permanently in my mind. 

Table by Edip Cansever (Istanbul, Turkey 1928-1986)

A man filled with the gladness of living
Put his keys on the table,
Put flowers in a copper bowl there.
He put his eggs and milk on the table.
He put there the light that came in through the window,
Sound of a bicycle, sound of a spinning wheel
The softness of bread and weather he put there.
On the table the man put
Things that happened in his mind.
What he wanted to do in life.
He put that there.
Those he loved, those he didn’t love,
The man put them on the table too.
Three times three make nine:
The man put nine on the table.
He was next to the window next to the sky;
He reached out and placed on the table endlessness.
So many days he had wanted to drink a beer!
He put on the table the pouring of that beer.
He placed there his sleep and his wakefulness;
His hunger and his fullness he placed there.
Now that’s what I call a table!
It didn’t complain at all about the load.
It wobbled once or twice, then stood firm.
The man kept piling things on.

Pink by Zeynep Beler

The night has come,
    Pink’s job is done.
She was the dawn, and the pink sun.
    But now blue’s time has come.
He’ll be the moon,
    He’ll be the sky.
Pink sits and waits for sunrise,
    Then she’ll be the sun again,
She’ll be the sky.
    But sunrise won’t last long.
When yellow comes
    And spreads her color to the sun.
Pink sits and waits.
    Pink sits and waits. 

from Letters to Childhood by Mohammed Shehadeh (Palestinian Doctor)

Forgive me, my child,
if the name I gave you 
is not the name
you would have chosen...

All the children of the world,
in all my abodes

you are the roses in my courtyard, 
the green and the fresh,
the sun and the stars,
you are the beautiful hands,
the ones who raise the flag of childhood high.

I give my life to you.
To you I write my poems.

I look now at my table a little differently.  Seeing in my mind all that I have laid there over the years of our moments together.  My thoughts that I’ve set down.  My dreams.  Time has traveled always past this table.  I see the pink in the sunrise now as a friend.  A friend that only gets to visit a few moments each day then patiently wait to come again with her greeting.  I picture the physician seeing the hands of the children he writes of.  The small hands which he hands life to.  Children as his roses.  All such beautiful words.  Again, the treasure of words from the other side of the world.  Handed to me at this small table.  Handing friendship from so far away through words of poetry.  Our sand timers continue to run as I type.  Can we today consciously make the effort to notice particular grains of time as they are passing?  To realize regardless of how much we carry, or what our particular movements in our song of life bring to us, we only still each have one grain at a time pass. 

Moments.  One grain of sand.  The look of someone across the room.  Their eyes.  The birds singing and asking us to look to the heavens as we walk under them.  The little tiny bug dangling from a tiny string practicing his bungy jumping outside my window.  The intricate round spider web in the floodlight with the patient weaver ready to pounce on his snack.  Showing me how beautiful and intricate his work was to set up only for one evening.  Showing me that no matter how long my work will last to take the time to do it well.  To be proud of what I’m weaving.  Weaving the small word called life.  Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday.  For letting me have this beautiful store.  I hope you can enter our doorway again soon.  When you do, we will have the coffee, the smiles, the fun, and possibly a book for you to walk out with whose words will change the rest of your life.  Susan

Latin for this week:
mensa – table
puer rosa – child is a rose
pulchra vita – beautiful life

Works Cited:
Nye, Naomi Shihab, Selected From.  The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East.  Simon and Schuster.  New York, NY.  1998.