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Children’s Laughter

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

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