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Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Poetry of Dr. Hanan Ashwari: "Women and Things"

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Tonight I had the honor of hearing Dr. Hanan Ashwari speak. A poem she wrote was read by Nizar Wattad of the Philistines before she came on stage She spoke tonight of the power of truth, and the power of women,
Palestinian women.

Women and Things

Hanan Mikha'd'Ashwari

Women make things grow:
Sometimes like the crocus,
surprised by rain, emerging fully
grown from the belly of earth;
Others like the palm tree with
it's promise postponed
rising in a slow
spiral to the sky.

Women make things light
like the breathless
flight of soap bubbles
shimmering in the eyes of a lone
child in a forbidden schoolyard;
And heavy
with the scent of
an overripe fruit
exploding at the
knowledge of summer hardened
soil on days of siege.

Women make things smooth
to the touch
like the kneading of
leavened bread at the dawn of hunger;
And coarse
like the brush of a
homespun coat on
careworn shoulders and bare
arms barely touching on the night of deportation.

Women make things cold
sharp and hard
like a legal argument thrust
before the threat of search and detention;
Or warm
and gentile like
justice in a poem,
like the suggestion of
the image of freedom
as a warm bath and
a long soak, in an undemolished home.

Women make things
And as we, in separate
worlds, braid
our daughter's hair
in the morning, you and
I, each
humming to herself, suddenly
and hears the
tune of the other.

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