Tuesday, February 26, 2008


an excerpt from mama’s response to my letter about needing someone here who grew up/thought like me...

I understand your feelings about needing people around you who understand you and you understand them. Perhaps this is what they call “homesick,” being far from your home and longing for it. It is as the old Arab poets described weeping over the ruins of the departed and being separated from loved ones. However, travel is something desirable and though there is difficulty in being distant, there is also knowledge and awareness in it. As Imam Shafi’i said:

Neither the wise nor the cultured will at home
find comfort, so leave your lands and emigrate

Travel, you will find recompense for what you’ve left behind

Struggle, for the sweetness of life is in struggle

I have seen that stagnant water becomes impure

If it flows it is fresh, but if it doesn’t it is unhealthy

How could lions become fierce if they did not leave their territory?

Would an arrow hit its mark if it did not leave the bow?

If the sun stood still in the sky indefinitely

then Arabs and others alike would grow tired of it

Gold would be like dirt, strewn in its place

Incense lying on the ground just another kind of wood

Only when the former is scarce does it become dear to us

If the latter is scarce then it’s worth its weight in gold

...it's not easy to translate Arabic poetry! :)

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