Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Ode to Lifta

By Nahida Izzat

Nahida Izzat
the Exiled Palestinian
Editor's Note: This version has been very slightly edited, near the ending. It was written by the young poet on reading that Israel is planning to raze the old village of Lifta to make room for vacation homes for Israelis. Read the full account in A Palestinian's Last Village to be Razed appearing on this blog.
I think of Lifta... I smile.... like a flower
Lifta . . . The healing touch of my grandmother
The aroma of her bread, baked with tenderness and love
Lifta . . . The hand of my mother against my face
Her gentle fingers running through my curls
Lifta . . . The smile of "Amal" my childhood friend
Gazing at Jerusalem in the horizon
Lifta . . . Rambling roses, lavender and jasmine
Poppies, daisies, chamomile carpets
And a blanket of stars
I think of Lifta . . . I smile . . . like a flower
Lifta . . . distressed rocks, anxious roofs and wounded windows
Lifta . . . fatigued Hills sleeping on each other’s shoulders
Hunched homes, years of anguish and solitude
Insisting not to bow down
Resilient trees embracing the landscape
Refusing to surrender
A pounding tearful stream determined not to drown
I think of Lifta . . . I smile . . . like a flower
Lifta . . . fragrant dreams of little girls
bouncing in the meadows
Lifta . . . sparkly eyes teaming with joy . . .
following a baby gazelle down the valley
Lifta . . . Rainbow giggles of many many children,
singing, dancing, playing "bride and groom"
I think of Lifta . . . I smile.... like a flower
Lifta . . . Lifta . . . Lifta
Lifta . . . the throbbing wound of my heart
The scent of my buried memories seeping through my tortured being
Lifta . . . the childhood paradise I yearn to re-grasp
Lifta . . . the last straw humankind could hold onto
To save its humanity
I think of Lifta . . . I smile . . . like a flower
I think of Lifta . . . I weep... like a motherless child
I think of Lifta . . . I sing like a buoyant hummingbird
I think of Lifta . . . I tremble like an autumn leaf
I think of Lifta . . . I haemorrhage like slaughtered lamb
I think of Lifta . . . I smile.... like a flower
I think of Lifta . . . I gasp for a glimpse of her splendour
I think of Lifta . . . I melt with love, so tender
I think of Lifta . . . I rage with blazing anger
You doers of evil
who so wantonly rain death and destruction
on helpless, defenseless
Heed if you have a residue of a heart
NEVER AGAIN you said
Heed if you have a scum of a soul
You destroy Lifta! You unleash your own demise
Boundless, measureless, bottomless, eternal
It’s your choice
And so it goes
Life . . . goes on!
About the author: Nahida Izzat is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian refugee living in exile for over 44 years. She was forced to leave her homeland, Palestine, at the age of seven during the six-day war. Nahida is a mathematician by education, a mother of 3 children by career, an artist by hobby, and a returned-refugee to a free Palestine by optimism, hopes and anticipation

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