Sunday, March 25, 2007
In Memorium: My Father
Baseel Jameel Harb
April 7, 1922-March 25, 2002
Born: Ramallah, Palestine
Died: Bakersfield, California
"Kamel Nasir's Last Poem,"
translated by Abdel Wahab Elmesseri
Beloved, if perchance word of my death reaches you
As, alone, you fondle my only child
Eagerly awaiting my return,
Shed no tears in sorrow for me
For in my homeland
Life is degradation and wounds
And in my eyes the call of danger rings.
Beloved, if word of my death reaches you
And the lovers cry out:
The loyal one has departed,
his visage gone forever,
And fragrance has died within the bosom of the flower
Shed no tears...smile on life
And tell my only one,
my loved one,
The dark recesses of your father's being
Have been touched by visions of his people.
Splintered thoughts bestowed his path
As he witnessed the wounds of oppression.
In revolt, he set himself a goal
He became a martyr, sublimated his being
even changed his prayers
Deepened their features and improvised
And in the long struggle his blood flowed
His lofty vision unfolded
shaking even destiny.
If news reaches you, and friends come to you,
Their eyes filled with cautious concern
Smile to them in kindness
For my death will bring life to all;
My people's dreams are my shrine
at which I pray, for which I live.
The ecstacy of creation warms my being,
shouting of joy,
Filling me with love,
as day follows day,
Enveloping my struggling soul and body.
Immortalized am I in the hearts of friends
I live only in others' thoughts and memories.
Beloved, if word reaches you and you fear for me
Should you shudder and your cheeks grow pale
As pale as the face of the moon,
Allow it not to look upon you, nor
feast on the beauty of your gaze
For I am jealous of the light of the moon.
Tell my only one, for I love him,
That I have tasted the joy of giving
And my heart relishes the wounds of sacrifice.
There is nothing left for him
Save the sighs from my song...
Save the remnants of my lute
Lying piled and scattered in our house.
Tell my only one if he ever visits my grave
And yearns for my memory,
Tell him one day that I shall return
--to pick the fruits.
Kamal Nasir was from a distinguished Palestinian Christian family of educators. He was assasinated by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
May God hold you and all of your loved ones in the palm of his hand in this time of sorrow. Words are always difficult to find to express sympathy, instead, I send you my quiet prayers.
He also introduced me to the works of Kamel Nasir, the poet, and I am very grateful for that. We're the same age, Robin! Although I have a birthday coming up soon :)
I'm sure he is very happy now that he left behind him such a significant daughter, who has such a pure message to convey :-)
and happy birthday in advance :-)
I know that he has every reason to be proud of you and of your family! Great people, the best in absolute!!!