Fooling The Killers

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry recently and loved this writer’s attitude to finding his childhood friend, or not. The poet, Taha Muhammad Ali, is from Palestine, a little part of the world where the people have endured many wars and their lives and relationships have settled into some acceptance of uncertainty. This poem was written after years had separated Ali from his childhood and the people with whom he shared it. Here, he narrates his attempts at making peace with whatever time has done to his friend, Qasim. I was so moved by his writing, I even recorded a reading of this poem on my YouTube channel.

 

Fooling The Killers

by Taha Muhammad Ali

 

Qasim,

I wonder now

where you are…

I haven’t forgotten you

after all these years,

long as the graveyard wall is long. I always

ask the grass of the field

about you, and the dirt paths.
Are you alive,

with your poise,

your cane, and your memories?

Did you marry?

Do you have a tent of your own,

and children?

Did you make it to Mecca?

Or did they kill you

at the foot of the Hill of Tin?

Or maybe you never grew up,

Qasim, and managed to hide,

behind your ten years,

and you’re still the same old Qasim,

the boy who runs around

and laughs

and jumps over fences,

who likes green almonds,

and searches for birds’ nests.

 

But even if they did it,

Qasim,

if shamelessly,

they killed you,

I’m certain

you fooled your killers,

just as you managed

to fool the years.

For they never discovered

your body at the edge of the road

and didn’t find it

where the rivers spill

or on the shelves

at the morgue

and not on the way to Mecca

and not beneath the rubble.

 

As no one saw you

concealing your corpse,

so no one will ever set eyes on you,

and no earthly breeze

encounter a bone of your body,

a finger of your hand,

or even a single shoe that might fit you.

Qasim, you fooled them.

 

I always envied you, Qasim,

your skill at hiding,

in the games of hide-and-seek we played –

barefoot at dusk – forty years ago –

when we were little boys.

 

 

Source

Did reading this poem make you want to track down your own childhood friend? 

Amazon, YouTubeTumblrBloglovinInstagramPinterest and Twitter
September FarmMeet @ The Barre, April

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