language and poetry

Although  I am increasingly swayed by arguments that the easy access to limitless information is harmful and misleading, I haven’t taken active steps to shield myself; on the contrary, I am still subscribed to quite a few list-serves and obsessively check a couple of news sites. Let’s see when the dumbing fog of the chattering classes starts outweighing the occasional find of a gem. And let’s hope that I notice, or someone who cares about me does and tells me. But for the time being: anyone who’s checked my resources page knows that I get near daily updates from The Arabist, a great site for all kinds of interesting reflections on MENA happenings. Having written a short post on the uniqueness of each language yesterday, I was delighted with this piece by Ursula Lindsey about the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila.

If her self-labelled awkward translation is comes anywhere close, this is another example of the poetic sensitivity that seems to flow so easily in this language. Where else does pop talk about nationalism in such terms?

Others domesticate hurricanes to govern destiny

We fly off with the breeze and return to destruction

Dare to ask about the worsening situation

And they silence you with talk of all the conspiracies

The herd accuses you of betrayal, if you call for the homeland to change

They make you despair till you sell your freedom, as the homeland is lost

They tell you

Come on smile, come on, dance a while

Why the frown? Come on, dance with me a little

They taught you the anthem, they said your struggle is good for the homeland

They numbed your veins, they said your sedation is good for the homeland

They tell you

Come on smile, come dance a while

Why the frown? Come on, dance with me a little


About roger henke

Still figuring out the story line that would satisfy myself here. Listening to what my family and friends evoke, what the words I absorb, the images that move me, the movements that still me, point to.
This entry was posted in psychology, society and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to language and poetry

  1. Vincent Meijers says:

    Dear Roger,
    Compliments for your nice sample of Lebanon music !
    Right from the soul.
    Have you ever noticed the correlation between war-teared countries and the origin of beautiful music? Check Columbian salsa, Kongo Soukous and Lebanon Rap. Wonder what Egypt composers and bands will come up with next …
    Good luck.

  2. Pingback: state of fear | roger henke's fancies

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