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Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here! Event: Bi-lingual Poetry Reading

  • Smith Memorial Student Union (map)

In Room 236 of the Smith Memorial Student Union on PSU campus, three Arabic and three English presenters will read among them twelve poems with each poem presented in both languages, like the following poem by Naomi Shibab Nye, Jerusalem. Questions and discussion will follow.

I’m not interested in
who suffered the most.
I’m interested in
people getting over it.
Once when my father was a boy
a stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother's doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.
Each carries a tender spot:
something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
“I am a native now.”
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child’s poem says,
“I don’t like wars,
they end up with monuments.”
He’s painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.
Why are we so monumentally slow?
Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:
big guns, little pills.
If you tilt your head slightly
it’s ridiculous.
There’s a place in my brain
where hate won't grow.
I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.
It’s late but everything comes next.ا