Friday, January 17, 2014

An Israeli re-visits her home in Cairo

 Tahrir Square now and then: it was home to Ada Aharoni's family before their brutal expulsion in 1948.

These two poems were written  by the author, academic and poetess Ada Aharoni when she visited her home in Cairo for the first time in 30 years.
 Ada Aharoni
On the eve of Hanukah
I climb the staircase
Of what used to be my home –
In El Tahrir Square in Cairo
In my faraway Egyptian past.

After thirty fleeting years
With trembling hand
I ring the bell of my former home.
A woman with a kind round smile
Opens the door, hears my story and cries:
“You lived in this house thirty years ago?
Come in, come in, ahlan wesahlan, welcome,
I am so glad you came!
I have kept something of yours
For thirty years, which I think
Is important.

But first, coffee and sharbat,
And my bassboussa dipped in golden honey…
I sip the honey, sharbat and coffee
While happy, hurting memories
Flamboyant pictures of the past
Flow down my spine
Like the turbid copper waters
Of the Nile.

Then with a round secretive smile
Monira places on the table
A white nylon bundle and
Slowly, slowly opens
Our Hanuka miracle -
A velvet bag
With golden letters and a flower
Embroidered by my grandmother
Half a century ago -
And in it
My Father’s Talit
My Father’s prayer shawl!

I will inhale the Bridge
And will exhale the wall.
I sang you Bridge
In every grain
Of the Pomegranate of my life,
I wrote you in all the languages
In all the keys of a unique
Immortal Symphony.

Ada Aharoni's story

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