Thursday, 2 April 2015

B is for Brilliant...and Barghouti

is for Barghouti, Mourid (1944 - )

Mourid Barghouti is an award winning Palestinian contemporary poet, writing in Arabic.  He is the voice of the homeless Palestinian, a poet in exile.  He grew up in Ramallah and later went on to Cairo University in the mid-sixties. He was at Cairo when the Six-Day War was won by Israel, and as a consequence, Barghouti was prevented from going back home to Ramallah for many years, returning only in 1996.  His memoir I Saw Ramallah has been described as one of the finest existentialist account of the Palestinian displacement by  Edward Said.

My prompt for this letter and his poem can be found here.

The horse doesn’t stop at this courtyard

We live in such times that driverless
cars don’t yet know to make their way
back home alone in urban darkness
through gaps in traffic; but soon, one day.

Language becomes a fearsome tool
to cut finer; the digital divide
is one more means to conquer and rule,
crumbs of truth dropped by the side.

Too accustomed to noise and sound
political speech and halved music,
our training in silence runs aground
our ears tune out the pin-drop tics.

That horse perhaps turning homeward
would never halt at our courtyard.

I had a chance to learn Arabic as a child.  Not knowing that I'd end up living in Arabic speaking countries half my life I didn't take it up then, so now I can't read Barghouti in the original.  Is there any language you wish you had taken up at school?

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2015


  1. Hi Nila!

    Wow, it'd be amazing to learn Arabic, but i'm a believer that languages are best learned when very young. It's a struggle for adults. I've always loved the French language-it is so melodious. I visited France for a 6-month stint once and by the time I left I was speaking like a native, but soon lost the fluency when I returned to Oz. Any second/third etc language must be practised regularly.

    Keep it up!

    Denise :-)

  2. Nice one, Nila. Really liked the poem. :) I had a chance to learn German and French. I passed it up. No regrets though, as I don't have much use for them where I live. Spanish on the other hand would have come in handy :)
    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

  3. Lovely. I'd never heard of Barghouti. An existentialist poet? I need to get out of my rut and read more. Thanks so much.

  4. I wished I'd polished my French better, I'd love to be fluent. And I'm interested because you mentioned his existentialist writings. I plan to feature something about that subject in France, later in the challenge.

  5. Hi Nila - loved learning about Barghouti - people are extraordinary how they cope, and carry their beliefs and thinking with them.

    I'd have loved to have learnt one language, because once one is learnt the rest can follow on ... I struggle with them though - I learnt French and Italian, tried some German, tried some Afrikaans in South Africa ... at least I can pronounce things ... African names, and I worked with Eastern Europe - so again can manage many of the names. But completely flunk with Arabic, anything in Cryllic script et al ..

    English is fine by me!! Lovely B - fascinating and to see DG is going to feature that subject in her A-Z .. should be so interesting - cheers Hilary

  6. I enjoyed your poem. I write prose fiction and have never attempted poetry. I think it's a special skill that not all writers have. You're lucky to have it. As for languages I learned French and Spanish - my only regret is not using either so now I'm only fluent in English and I think that's a shame. Enjoy the rest of the challenge!

  7. wow such an insightful poem ... so apt for the present world
    I wish I knew Bengali so that I could read all the Tagore's work in the original language it was written. Somehow I feel the essence gets lost when translated.

    From A to Z
    Yoga Every Damn Day

  8. You write such amazing poetry! Very beautiful :) And wish I'd learned taken up French in school. :(

  9. Enjoying your poetry! If I could have learned any language in school (other than the obligatory French), it would have been Swedish. I can count from 0-10 and say 'good morning', but that's about it!

  10. I took several years of French, and so wish I'd kept up with it. I say I'm going to try Rosetta Stone, and then of course I'll need a trip somewhere to try it out : ) Best of luck with the challenge, and thanks for visiting my blog!

  11. Interesting! I wish I had taken Chinese back in college when I had the chance. Maybe I will. I mean, all I am doing in a dissertation now... right?.. :D

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  12. Bummer you didn't learn it then. It's easier to soak up a new language when you're young. I lived in Japan until I was five and spoke better Japanese than English. (Of course, I've forgotten most of it since that time.)

  13. Beautiful. heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing.

  14. wish I'd done a better job of learning german! That is a real shame that you didn't learn Arabic :(
    Thanks for visiting my blog and the lovely comment

  15. I'm currently minoring in Spanish in college, and I can't think of a more useful language for living in the U.S. No language regrets here!

  16. I took up French in HS. Had a hard time with it. Awesome poem. :)

  17. Another lovely poem. I enjoyed it and loved your point of no longer knowing silence. Sometimes I love to just unplug everything and listen to the sounds of's very peaceful. Yes, I wish I had learned another language. I could speak and read French as a young girl, but after around 30 years of no practice, I would need to start all over again. Wish I had kept up with it.

  18. Your poetry is really beautiful!
    I've always had a thing for French. Unfortunately, it wasn't offered as a subject in the curriculum during my high school years.
    I've never heard of Barghouti... thank you for introducing this poet.


Comment moderation is on. Anonymous comments will be deleted forthwith. Nonymous comments always welcome :) Thank you for your patience!