Tayta

 

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2013

 Over time

Houses develop cracks in the wall and you fill them all

Tayta. Habibati.

All my life I have watched you scrape

Every last bit of rice into the pot with sun spotted shaky hands

Hands .. weakened from the weight of holding our family together

Scraping with the appreciation of every blessing that lies in every grain

And distant memories too enduring for time to overcome

Of going to sleep with only poetic scriptures to comfort your soul

and a stomach that hummed with the reverberating bombs that dropped as a means of governmental control…

Twenty winters 

have passed since you homed this land and the snow has settled on your hair

But not your heart. And I am your past. 

I am; 

the traditions you kiss from my porcelain lips,

the beauty in the scars on my fertile hips. 

There’s no country like Australia, she says at 6am when the

Aromatic wisps of Lebanese coffee rise as the fog dissipates

And I eagerly drink from the small cup so she can flip it, turn it up

And she can tell me what my future holds- "I see a white circle and a forked road",     

Fragmented pigmented segments of my watercolour dreams

It seems the signs tell of hope and great opportunities.

The shisha bubbles apple and honey flavoured smoke as we sit cross legged

And she sings to me Sabah and Abdel Halim and tells me stories of the old days, the gold days of Lebanese sovereignty. 

The times when blood did not fertilise the soil and her grandmother would guide her clumsy, childish fingers into wrapping a vine leaf

The way she guides my hands into wrapping every piece

And she tells me, there’s no country like Australia

The marks of prayer on her forehead attest to her freedom

The land that gave her a chance

The land that let her live out her plans

Tayta. Habibati.

Recite to me some of your Arabic poetry

The one where you tell your son

You wish you could box up your heart and send it to him

So he could see how meager and raw it has become

And that time has not made it grow more fond

But it has made it unbearable

Recite that one.

Comment Log in or Join Tablo to comment on this chapter...
Sue Baron

This is a beautiful poem! So full of imagery and emotion. It brought tears to my eyes at the end.

Gregory J. McKenzie

The Arab poetry speaks to the desert people of Australia. These people do not all live in what our original inhabitants call "the bush".
Banjo Patterson was the first Australian poet to recognize the 'desert' in the heart of city dwellers with the line
"I would love to go a roving,,,"
Clancy of the Overflow was the "Arab" in every Australian.
Well done.
Your efforts speak to the heart!

Chinthaka Nanayakkara

I can picture the old lady in the kitchen, telling her grand son about the golden days of Lebanese Kings. But can't understand the reference to Australia...

~

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