Thinking of Spring in Palestine


What benefit or joy if,

I were to gain the world,
But lose the almond blossoms in my land?

Drink a cup of coffee, everyplace
But my mother’s home

Journey to the moon,
But not to the graves of my ancestors

See the world’s wonders,
But not the setting sun as it dips behind ancient olive groves

Tour the world over,
But lose the flowers on the hills of my native land

Nothing but lethal silence…

No need to gain the world

Just a cup of coffee
In a familiar place and
An end to the lethal silence

Within the hearts of the living…

Mike Odetalla writes poems, essays, personal stories, narrative, and all things important and relevant to Palestine and being Palestinian. Read other articles by Mike, or visit Mike's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. sk said on April 16th, 2008 at 8:29am #

    FYI, an excerpt from a presentation on life in Palestinian orchards.

  2. mary said on April 16th, 2008 at 8:30am #

    This poem is extremely moving to read. One can hear the writer expressing the loss of a homeland and the beautiful memories held forever in his mind. It is especially poignant today when we hear of the deaths of 9 more Palestinians, making a total of 17 this week, including those of a 67 year old man and three children in a refugee camp. This was the work of IDF helicopters firing at civilians from above. I have also heard that the El Wafa rehabilitation hospital was shelled last night, terrifying its patients and staff.

    The soil from which the almond blossoms grew is being richly fed by the blood of its captive people.

  3. Gary Corseri said on April 16th, 2008 at 9:11am #

    A beautiful picture to accompany a deeply moving, poignant poem.

    Mary’s comments above also provide scope and resonance to Odetalla’s timeless piece on beauty and loss, home, courage and tragedy.

    Thank you, Mike Odetalla, for telling these hard-earned truths, and thanks to Dissident Voice for bringing them before its important readership.

  4. Gary Corseri said on April 16th, 2008 at 10:04am #

    Thanks, too, to sk for the excellent link, which I’ve just checked out. The video is narrated by a young, American Jewish woman who makes clear distinctions between Jews, Israelis and Zionists (including the rampant Christian-Zionists–Hageeophiles and others–in the U.S.).

    Why should what happens “there” concern us “here”? Haven’t “they” always had wars and chaos in the “Holy Land”?

    Well, actually, no. For centuries, Jews and Arabs lived in harmony. When 19th Century Zionists, facing the pogroms of Tsarist Russia and the ghettoes and discrimination of European life–when these Zionists hitched their wagon to European nationalist struggle and expansionism, they brought a lethal virus into the ancient religion of the Jews, then exported that virus to the lands controlled by the Ottoman Turks, and, following World War I and Balfour, the British Empire.

    Why should any of that concern hard-working Americans, struggling to pay their taxes, worried about healthcare, lousy education for their kids, crime, pollution, lost jobs and foreclosures? For one thing, over 10,000,000 American dollars per day, 3-5 billion dollars a year, are earmarked to the state of Israel to support its arsenal of nuclear weapons (about 200), huge military assets, and its occupation of Palestinian territory. Indeed, the relatively wealthy state of Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. “foreign aid.”

    The managers of the American economy have been running the world’s foremost economy into the bloody ground with military adventurism and credit schemes based on inflated–and even non-existent–paper money. (Or is it cardboard money–as in a house of cards?).

    Beyond the “Economics-101” considerations of knowing where our money is going and what it’s value constitutes, there are the moral questions to be asked of a nation founded upon the principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Fine words, but rather poorly applied when countered with “vital interests” or “military necessity.” And, outside of Bill Moyers’ “Journal,” fine words unlikely to get traction among the over-paid, immoral and amoral pundits who sum up our mass-media “news.”

    Yet, aren’t these moral questions the basis of our human life on this fragile planet? And if we cannot work out our moral relationships now as the world shrinks and globalizes, what can such inability auger for this already blood-drenched century?

  5. wandering Palestinian said on April 17th, 2008 at 8:34pm #

    Thanks poet for expressing our diaspora experience.