NIDA KHOURI

PEOPLE OF FIRE

Burn generations,

burn the olive leaves

raise incense,

Burn their fingertips.

Smoke.

Burn their farewells

and go.

Burn their cook books

burn the kindling

infuse their wheat

and scatter it

on the rooftops.

They burn the candleís end

illuminate the shame of graves.

Dress in ashes and lie down like coals.

PEOPLE OF GRAPES

The unripe grapes

hang on the morning gate

and the leaving.

My soul goes out

to the unripe taste of my childhood

but the sun

grabs me quickly

and hides

my shadow

in her shade

...and my story ends.

PEOPLE OF POMEGRANATES

Roll within themselves

seeds of love and liberty

from the dawn of time.

And now they break up

in the motherís hips

into wedges wedges

and she bursts

this is the land

narrow of womb

the place erupts.

PEOPLE OF FIGS

In the land of milk and honey

whenever they pick unripe dates

and children in their dawn

the pain dries

like curdled milk

rivers in my land will drip

the land of milk and honey

PEOPLE OF OLIVES

They come and are pressed

like those impressed with a Mission.

Thus thought the crushed:

In the crushing is most of the oil.

Our oil has been sold, like our blood

to the holy places

for we are poor

our land is holy

and our palace in the Mount of Olives.

TRANLSATED FROM THE HEBREW TRANSLATION

BY KAREN ALKALAY-GUT

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From The Jerusalem Review