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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Powerful poetic remembrances

“Real friendship, like real poetry, is extremely rare - and precious as a pearl.” – Tahar Ben Jelloun

Born in Morocco on this date in 1944, Ben Jelloun now makes his home in Paris where he writes poetry, novels, essays and short stories. Recipient of a special U.N. prize for "peace and friendship between people,” he also has been awarded France’s Légion d'honneur (Cross of Grand Officer) and been short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature. 
            His The Rising of the Ashes, is a poetic remembrance to victims of Middle East conflicts.  It ends with eight numbered stanzas that reflect on the region’s lingering losses.  For Saturday’s Poem, here are two of those stanzas from that award-winning book.

Is it the tree or the infamy of long insomnia
that leans over to spell out the shredding of time?
A word falls slowly in a tomb where
the dawns accumulate.
This eternal body
is a shore that advances: the sea is here, at its feet.
Neither lemon tree, nor absinthe, or night, but
a wet dress, set on a white stone bench;
this is the memory of hands separated from land
         and face:
and the land is a face
the tree a voice
and the coat a sky washed of its clouds. 

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