Friday, May 11, 2012

This Hard-Earned Crust

photo by Greg Timm


Now That We Have Tasted Hope
by Khaled Mattawa

Now that we have come out of hiding,
Why would we live again in the tombs we'd made of our souls?

And the sundered bodies that we've reassembled
With prayers and consolations,
What would their torn parts be, other than flesh?

Now that we have tasted hope
And dressed each other's wounds with the legends of our oneness,
Would we not prefer to close our mouths forever
On the wine that swilled inside them?

Having dreamed the same dream,
Having found the water behind a thousand mirages,
Why would we hide from the sun again
Or fear the night sky after we've reached the ends of darkness,
Live in death again after all the life our dead have given us?

Listen to me Zow'ya, Beida, Ajdabya, Tobruk, Nalut,
Listen to me Derna, Musrata, Trables, Benghazi, Zintan,
Listen to me houses, alleys, courtyards, and streets that throng my veins,
Some day soon, in your freed light, in the shade of your proud trees,
Your excavated heroes will retum to their thrones in your martyrs' squares,
Lovers will hold each other's hands.

I need not look far to imagine the nerves dying,
Rejecting the life that blood sends them.
I need not look deep into my past to seek a thousand hopeless vistas,
But now that I have tasted hope
I have fallen into the embrace of my own rugged innocence.

How long were my ancient days?
I no longer care to count.
I no longer care to measure.
How bitter was the bread of bitterness?
I no longer care to recall.

Now that we have tasted the hope, this hard-earned crust,
We would sooner die than seek any other taste to life,
Any other way of being human.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Posted with permission of the poet.

Now That We Have Tasted Hope is featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the Beloit Poetry Journal

Irene Latham is our Poetry Friday host today.

10 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

So appropriate for this past year, Tabatha. "Having found the water behind a thousand images, why would we hide from the sun again". The passion for freedom sings out so strongly in this. Thank you!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thank you, Tabatha (and Khaled), for sharing this extraordinarily powerful poem. I was listening to NPR yesterday, my car full of groceries, and having a hard time reconciling that with the sound through my speaker of an AK47 half a world away. Gorgeous writing.

Katya said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful and timely poem.
I really loved the lines "How bitter was the bread of bitterness? / I no longer care to recall. "

Tara said...

But now that I have tasted hope
I have fallen into the embrace of my own rugged innocence.

So poignant - I'm thinking of the people of Syria now, as well...

Linda said...

I agree that this is a very appropriate poem for our time. I especially love, "Or fear the night sky after we've reached the ends of darkness"
I'm so glad you shared it with us today.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Dearest Tabatha, I am reminded of your April challenge of matching poems with literary characters. As I was reading through this poem, I am reminded of Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy and Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade - and their constant search and struggle for the elusive concept of 'hope.' I felt that this poem would have been a perfect match for their characters.

Mary Lee said...

Myra, that's EXACTLY what I was thinking!!!

Also, my heart was hurting for my students who still have family members living in Syria...

Ruth said...

Here's hoping and praying for many people to dream the same dream.

Irene Latham said...

This poem moves me. I want to read it again and again. Hope changes everything. THANK YOU for sharing.

laurasalas said...

I love that he no longer cares to recall. Move forward, with hope. Powerful!