Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Gift of Olive Oil

A token of love…
Something from the soil of things shared:

a heritage
a longing
a wound
a love

The sweet and bitter tastes of centuries gone.
The hard caress of weatherworn hands of pickers
The tales of backbreaking toil, scribbled on beautiful fellaheen faces.
The ballads of old, sung to trees and sleepless Palestinian children
The untamed agonies of loss and expired love,

the soot of memory,
the breath of hope,
the fury,
the tears of babes
and patriarchs,
mothers and whores,
gods and men.

This nectar of tragedy is ours to consume
Ours to love
Ours to bury and bring back to life

Take it from their tireless hands
Their boundless capacity to endure

And without bread or za’atar, dip your finger in this oil
Press it between your tongue and palate

Do it again
Until you hear the primal calls of an earth packed beneath boot steps and tank treads
...and it will haunt you with an unexpected song.

-by susan abulhawa

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