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Saturday, March 12, 2005


"The Land Across the Valley"

"The Land Across the Valley," by Laila Halaby with quotes from Rashid Hussein

You always told me to remember stories
About our village, and to remember
The songs that carry the legends of our land;
And to remember the faces of old women
For in them is our history.
Isn't that so?
My father heard my words and turned away
To look across the valley where our land is.
"Teach the night to forget to bring
dreams showing me my village,"
he said and then was quiet again.
His silence fell on us as the sun burned
The stones we sat on. I tried to taste
The breeze coming up from the valley.
"And teach the wind to forget to carry to me
the aroma of apricots in my fields."
We looked to the other side of the valley,
At the olive trees and red poppies
Scattering the hillsides.
"There is no God but Allah,"
sang a distant muezzin.
"And teach the sky, too, to forget to rain."
My father closed his eyes.
"Only then, may I forget my country."

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