Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday's Child

No picture today. You can find those yourself, if you need them. Instead, this, by a poet I've just discovered, and like quite a bit:

Travel Tickets

On the day you kill me
You’ll find in my pocket
Travel tickets
To peace,
To the fields and the rain,
To people’s conscience.

Don’t waste the tickets.

--Samih al-Qasim, trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari



More tomorrow.

4 comments:

Danielle Mari said...

Oh I love this!

Laura Vivanco said...

This made me think, in a "compare and contrast" sort of way, of Rupert Brooke's The Soldier.

The speaker there is

(a) less convinced he's going to die (he says "If I should die" not "On the day you kill me")

(b) I suspect he's directing his comments to his friends/family/other English people, rather than to his enemies, though he doesn't say so explicitly. al-Qasim, on the other hand, is quite clear about who he's addressing, and it's the people/person who will kill him.

(c) al-Qasim's poem is much more universal in its hope for peace for all and "the fields" whereas Brooke clings to the national identity which in part led to the war which would kill him. His field is not a neutral field, it's "some corner of a foreign field/ That is for ever England."

Furthermore, he urges his readers to think the following:

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.


Yes, he's imagining peace, but it's in the next world and even there I don't think he's imagining any German dead "at peace, under an English heaven" so presumably heaven will have to be as segregated as the WW1 and WW2 war graves.

Needless to say, I prefer al-Qasim's poem.

jamila said...

ME too! i love this! the poem is very nice.

James said...

Very nice poem! Thanks for it.