Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Poetry: Tarek Eltayeb

My Grandmother’s Advice

My grandmother’s advice when I was small
Was the following:
“Eat well to grow strong.”
And I grew strong
“Drink lots of water.
Don’t stay out late; don’t smoke:
You’ll live longer that way.”
I stayed out late and I smoked
And have yet to die

Yet once in the autumn of my life
I sat in front of the television
And saw heavy boots
Crushing the world
I heard the endless tally
Of those who had just climbed to heaven
Each one madly racing to the grave
From that day on
I could hardly sleep

On a different channel
I took in the very same things
In another language
And then in yet another
My eyes devoured them
My entire face was flashing lights—
I did not sleep

The commercials that broke up the news
Advised me to buy
Something sweet for my stomach
Something refreshing for my mood
But how, how could I possibly sleep?

I grew old at the end of autumn
Older than I’d ever hoped:
I realized that these tiny giants
Were setting out to plow the earth
To dig up its treasures
To till the cosmos
And bless us with the news
Of fresh and heavy boots
That would crush the world

I cannot sleep:
Absurd—so much to eat here
Alongside so much hunger
Absurd—so much to drink here
Alongside so much thirst
And so much news
Both here and there

No-one wants to understand the news
The faces cram themselves against the storefront windows
They hang there like pendulums
Still seeking
Boots fit for a live broadcast

Tarek Eltayeb

(Taken from Poets Against the War.)


Blogger Hecate said...

Incredibly appropriate.

5:28 PM  

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