At the curve of the path by the nearby wheat field
a laugh is flying
as if it was an ululation –
no, as if the warbling nightingale sings and fades.
But it is our laugh
from a silent joke thrown by a friend – no, a lover.
And like this, we fade.
We fade after a joke, and after a joke, we fade.
On the wall of our old house
you notice the pictures
read history through them
and you read the lessons.
For all of us line up the events and history
on the village footpath
on the wall of our house
and their house.
On the walls of the ancient large mosque
and the nearby pond.
Our village neighbours Mars and the moon.
Our village abounds with good things and rain
its valleys are many, and green
its sky clear, blue
and its people respect each other in war and peace
its children chant and smile through the days.
We embrace the darkness. Then the moon appears
while we stay up at the curve of the path.
We play jump rope sometimes, and sometimes chat
holding dabkaat* in the middle of the path.
And the stars shine, the moon disappears
so you do not see anything in the universe except that shine
and we do not retreat, nor get bored, nor express weariness
but bid farewell to the footpath, and farewell to staying up.
We finally embrace our beds to clear the path
for a young worker, and behind him an old farmer.
And we welcome the winter
we welcome the snowfalls and rains
and we welcome the evening
listening to wry tales
from my slender grandmother
and courageous grandfather.
And in the daytime, we collect the water in the runnels
and build the dams
and we make binoculars from mud and from glass
and we carve the lions.
We are both teacher and student:
we read the sciences and maths
and it astonishes our intellects and minds
and it’s all games.
Oh how beautiful life is in childhood
oh how beautiful children are.
Their lips whisper with innocence
their eyes utter hopes
their deeds reflect their cleverness –
should those deeds spread.
Oh how beautiful life is in childhood.
Oh how beautiful children are.
*Plural of dabke, a Levantine Arab folk dance