One lovely weekend and week when I was visiting my son and my friend who was in prison, I happened upon a flier at the local college saying this essayist who's a poet in all she does and speaks was going to be at the college for the very two days I had nothing special to do while son was working and visiting hrs at the prison were over until following weekend...so I went. You should hear her sing....not only did I hang onto her every word but I bought some books and couldn't get enough of reading them outloud to whoever would listen for weeks...
Maybe you'll have such an opportunity soon to discover a writer-poet will be visiting one of your local places. If so, I can't recommend anything better for replenishing the vitimins of joy, trust and simple miracles that go missing for most of us these days. Look for them - Find them. note from Connie
Plz look at the other items by this Poet-Writer (two more blogposts here have been recently featured on Oneheartforpeace.)
Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport by Naomi Shihab Nye
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, Please come to the
Well — one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore...
( small note: This is a photo of something that may have come suddenly into Nye's mind's eye: A woman from Ramallah, c. 1929-1946 A manner of dress very common before the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the Occupation/Exodus...)
...(she) was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. "Help," said the flight service person. "Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this."
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. "Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee?"
The minute she heard any words she knew — however poorly used – She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the Following day. I said "No, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him."
We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and would ride next to her — SouthWest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends!
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions.
Soon after, she pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies — little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts — out of her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, the lovely woman from
Laredo — we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free (non-alcoholic beverages from huge coolers and the two little girls for our flight--one African American, one Mexican American — ran around serving us all Apple Juice and Lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend — by now we were holding hands – had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Ah, an old country traveling tradition: always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, "This is the world I want to live in. The shared world."
Not a single person in this gate — once the crying of confusion stopped – was
apprehensive about any other person.
They took to the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too. This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
Naomi speaks often of bridges
Want to find out more? Look for Naomi Shihab Nye - watch for her in search engines and also see when she may be coming to your son's local college or maybe to an elementary school in your mother's town. I expect her to show up in more and more places like an angel-poet giving us something to smile about, something to help us let go of fear: GO here for a FUN article about Nye.
One of many gravesites about to be crushed...
The grave of Ahmad Agha Duzdar al-Asali, the mayor of Jerusalem in the 19th Century, in the Mamilla cemetery. (Wikipedia) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The Grave of Ahmad Agha Duzdar Al-Asali in the Mamilla Cemetery, JerusalemAhmad Agha Duzdar Al-Asali was mayor of Jerusalem from 1838 to as late as 1863. His official title was 'Ottoman Governor of Jerusalem'. He was known for his dealings with Moses Montefiore and his name appears in a petition by Muhammad Sharif in 1840 demanding that "the Jews must not be enabled to carry out the paving, and they must be cautioned against raising their voices and displaying their books at the Western wall." In 2005 the Turkish government in consultations with the Wakf built a marker for his grave which is in the southern end of the Mamilla Cemetery in west Jerusalem.
Members of prominent Palestinian families from Jerusalem came out last week in protest against plans by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to build a Museum of Tolerance on top of part of the ancient Mamilla Cemetery where their ancestors are buried. (and this is the way to tolerance, to peace?) Go to Electronic Intifada for this news here just posted just on 19 Feb 2010