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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fast Day 103 May 23 2009 {Blind Michael and Sidi Mahmoud}

Blind Michael and Sidi Mahmoud

Before the shrine of Sidi Mahmoud
blind Michael sat,
forest clearing,
mountains of the Lebanon.

Each pilgrim dropped a coin
into his bowl;
pleasing to God!

Blind Michael said thank you!
munificent one!
oh, prince of gold!
oh, daughter of grace!
father of beneficence!

But when Joey and I came with
our aunt to the Sidi Mahmoud shrine:
falling coins,
flashing sun,
grass green in a magic circle...
thanks, oh, young hero of the clash
of arms
and rider of the neighing of stallions!
That was to Joey, and my aunt did not
like that name,
never having known blind Michael to wax
so eloquent over alms.

Then the rest of our coins,
I let my small coin fall:
Oh, Madeed! thanks!
Madeed al Halm....
far dreamer!
dreamer of welfare,
dreamer of far away dreams!
falling through the air
to bless us,

My aunt gathered us and ran
all the way down the mount
and locked us in
the house.
The neighbors ladies swam into
view, within their pools of tea
and gossiped about mad Michael
and what madness all was that?

But Joey to the war did go,
and heard the calls of horses
and the clash of arms;
and I became a dreamer...
and both of us had to die
before we found our tongues
within that bush of ghosts
that spreads far beyond the creek
at the bottom of the gully
beyond the meadow of our youth.

© 2009


Sidi Mahmoud = a man named Mahmoud at whose tomb prayers are answered.
before entering, coins are given as alms to the poor.

The poor man bestows blessings upon all who give alms, but my aunt thought he went overboard one summer, when we were visiting.

Madeed al halm = literally: stretched out or extended (of) dream. It is not an easy translation.

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