FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Monday, February 27, 2012

Poet of the Week Muhammed Al-Faituri from Sudan

Poet of the Week Muhammed Al-Faituri from Sudan.
Al-Faituri writes in a way that catches ones attention instantly and totally.  I only wish I knew arabic so that I could read it in its original form.  

To learn more about the Al-Faituri (also spelled Al-Fayturi), read this:
Dismantling the History of Slavery and Colonization in the Poetry of Mohamed Al-Fayturi and Langston Hughes 

A Scream
I understand Death's contract
and the finite ends of life:
however long a man lives
he lives only to die.
At the end, every scream
pours like a river into silence
but the most dazzling star
is that which shows the caravan its way
when moss has covered our memories
and grief runs wild though the house.

         Incidentally, you should read the following article on the difficulties of writing in another language.  I've including a snippet to whet your appetite--his insight is also useful for native English speakers as they seek to understand other languages:

Writing English as a Second Language by William Zinsser

I once asked a student from Cairo, “What kind of language is Arabic?” I was trying to put myself into her mental process of switching from Arabic to English. She said, “It’s all adjectives.”
Well, of course it’s not all adjectives, but I knew what she meant: it’s decorative, it’s ornate, it’s intentionally pleasing. Another Egyptian student, when I asked him about Arabic, said, “It’s all proverbs. We talk in proverbs.

Some of my favorite poetry books:

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