Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Poem on Al Awda

Reaching in

I am not

never was

al awda

that is not to be owned
by any one

The Return can no more be caged
by one rowdy crowd

or another

than a soul can be enslaved:

Shackle my body with pain
and i can still hear a song

can dream of beauty

and be lifted away from Israel's ugly reach

The Return can not be contaminated
by fools

made toxic by hate

The Return can not be imprisoned
by "peace camps"

The Return can not be twiddled away
by fat thumbs bumbling

The return like God
- or nothingness-
is everywhere

and in everyone

every flag on earth
every heart every home

every mother's hope

The Return always was
always is
always will be

beyond the reach
of those who try to destroy it

The Return is reborn stronger
with every blink

every tear every laugh

it is in both weakness and strength gathering
and it is everywhere everywhere everywhere

that love... and kindness... can reach.

poem copyright ©2008 Anne Selden Annab

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September flavors - dates & books & films proving that Palestine is real- and Palestine is right!

I really wanted to write a poem about this picture of raindrops on our morning glories, the way the colors ... well never mind- I don't want to take away from its magic. Sometimes a poem takes a while to form itself- has to come naturally and feel right.

I am fascinated by words- and books... and art.

This week a new book for me arrived called "Subjective Atlas of Palestine" and I am utterly enchanted!

I saw and blogged a good review on it last year

Subjective Atlas of Palestine

but even after reading many glowing reviews about it I had no idea how much it would mean to me when I got my own copy. The book feels good to hold. Good quality paper went into its production- good quality everything really, with attention to detail as well as an eye for art.

What I like best is it is a wonderful reprieve- it is mainly pictures- well organized. Very dignified and yet very imaginative... as well as factual. "The Flowering Heritage of Palestine" is one chapter... one of many. Any mood and you'll find something to fascinate... and its all FULLY focused on Palestine!

It feels like it was thoughtfully, carefully, lovingly put together to be easily read, or simply glanced at, in fits and starts, held in one hand while the other hand lets loose an avalanche of images accompanied by that fresh ink September fragrance of a brand new book.

As that fresh ink flavour fades I think I want to press bits of herbs or rose petals... or maybe some Arabic spices... into the book on a random page just for the fun of it.

There are many books on Palestine. Some are boring- but all are welcome in my home, even if only just passing through on the way back to a friend or the used book store or our local library's book sale. Some are keepers- and destined to be a treasure in my growing library of books to always cherish... books I want to revisit through the years. Books I want to pass on down to my children as part of their heritage.

Last weekend we had a small party on our backyard terrace. We went to our local Mid East Market and stocked up on all we could, and then offered our American guests (and our youngest son) some food and flavors of the Middle East. Did you know you can even get stuffed grape leaves in a can! Our electricity keeps going out here and so I keep a stock pile of 'emergency' food. Things we can eat that can either be cooked on our grill outside or simply eaten as is. The canned stuffed grape leaves are excellent emergency food, not as good as Teta makes... but then nothing ever is! And we needed them for the party as the electricity went out early that day, staying off ALL day and so our Arabic feast had to be a bit inventive.

We had Lamb kabobs and veggie kabobs, and sliced peaches with cream for desert. Plus some really good fresh dates to nibble before, during and after... We got a HUGE box of dates, big fat juicy perfect dates and they are soooo good to eat- and fun to share. If a visitor likes them we toss two big handfuls of dates into a bag for them to take home.

When visiting my husband's family in the Middle East one pleasure is to see how much food is shared. Fresh food from people's farms. There is a sense of generosity and good flavors and thoughtfulness all rolled up into one offering, a gesture of gracious hospitality and kindness, repeated over and over again everywhere you go.

And every where you go there are such beautiful gardens... heavens had I known I'd be doing this blog "Growing Gardens for Palestine" I would have taken much better pictures to give a glimpse of all the different delicious food and the charming different homes and gardens we enjoyed... and the warm welcoming wonderful people... Well there is always next year!

Fact is there are many perfect moments I can't capture and share- such as the humming bird that flits in to feed on our red trumpet flowers. Or the doves that come to feed at the base of the goldfinch feeder... or the butterflies... or the goldfinch in flight as they all end up being blurs.

Heavens this summer has flown by fast. School has started and the trees are already changing colors ...

Summer's deep lush dripping green

into gold

pocket change at first
small coins

as if a fortune might be found
if we can save this day of brink

tuck it into forever
with a gentle tug

brighten the gold
with good memories

poem copyright ©2008 Anne Selden Annab
The Fairy Garden Poems # 36

I thought maybe of tying in this chapter of "Growing Gardens for Palestine" into books and films - such as "DRIVING TO ZIGZIGLAND" (Free delicious Arabic food & a Movie IFTAR (Al-Awda San Diego)

or Annemarie Jacir's Salt of This Sea

There is quite a treasure trove of films such as those found at The Arab Film Festival : "The mission of the Arab Film Festival (AFF) is to enhance public understanding of Arab culture and to provide alternative representations of Arabs that contradict the stereotypical images frequently encountered in the American mass media. The Arab Film Festival screens films from and about the Arab World that provide realistic perspectives on Arab people, culture, art, history and politics."

I think appreciating Arab artists & art is always a good idea! With the Internet such a festival has a huge reach as we might not be able to attend, but we can get of glimpse of the films- and maybe even be lured into exploring them even more- perhaps to then seek them out on our own to rent or own... and share: In any case, it all adds up into a growing body of evidence (some of it quite entertaining) proving to all the world that Palestine is real- and Palestine is right.

My husband, Jaffar, the computer guy/gardener/woodworker/star gazer is well educated but his real brilliance is beyond book learning: He always makes the most of what ever is there. He is very much aware of what is, and how it might easily become something more. Plus he likes to work. In his "free" time this month he has been making handmade bows. Our boys love archery and a year or two ago we had to cut down a tall Ash tree (long dramatic story that involved floods- waterfalls of cascading cold rain water rivers gushing rushing into our basement...)

Anyway- cut to the chase, My husband knows wood and he said that Ash wood would be good for making bows so he had it cut in a certain way and then he seasoned the log with time, and a few weeks ago we helped him hoist up that very heavy, very long log to his bandsaw where he cut it into quarters. Since then he has been making bows, mainly using hand tools.

He twists and braids the bow string. And will soon be making arrows with dowels and feathers he found at an archery store.

He's my cupid : )

He also has eagle eyes- and he is the one who noticed our first- and one and only Moonflower. Morning glories only bloom in the morning. The Moonflower blooms late afternoon into the evening.

It bloomed for Ramadan

Our wall of morning glories (and moon flower) have been pure pleasure for me. The birds and bees and butterflies find haven and nectar... and the chipmunk likes to play hide and seek behind the flowers.

He also like to nibble on them but he is small so he does very little damage.

The same can not be said for the greedy groundhog that gobbled up our vegetable garden. Nope- not going to blog a picture of the garden devastated. My point here is to focus on the positive- not dwell on the negative... or the ugly. Thus I won't tell you what I nicknamed the greedy garden gobbling ground hog.

There are better things to think about... dream about...

Like my Fairy Garden: Funny thing about my Fairy Garden... all the flowers want to bloom above it and around it- but not in it.

My husband carefully turns over the sea shells rimming it so their best side shows. Birds or fairies or elves or whatever tend to toss the seashells around when we're not looking, searching for little bugs or a great big ocean. I'm not really sure which.

I tiptoe out at dawn and marvel at our garden- its a good way to start the day. And then I come back inside and read my email and marvel at Palestine and all the many people (past, present and future) so dedicated and good and decent....

For Palestine inspires....
Oh and an important afterthought, as the deadline is fast approaching (Sept 15th). There is a wonderful media contest for journalists:

Celebrate the Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with us

Without journalists many human rights abuses would never be uncovered. In this 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Internews and the Every Human Has Rights Campaign would like to acknowledge the great contribution media makes in ensuring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is upheld by societies....[more]

I am very much hoping some one somewhere remembered Palestine- and used their compassion and creativity and talent- and good will to help illustrate that

Article 13

  1. 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
  2. 2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.