Meeting At An Airport

Meeting At An Airport” is a poem by a Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali (Arabic: طه محمد علي‎). I was deeply moved by it-quite a whirlpool of emotions still swirling within me therefore would love to share with you:

You asked me once,
on our way back
from the midmorning
trip to the spring:
“What do you hate,
and who do you love?”

And I answered,
from behind the eyelashes
of my surprise,
my blood rushing
like the shadow
cast by a cloud of starlings:
“I hate departure . . .
I love the spring
and the path to the spring,
and I worship the middle
hours of morning.”
And you laughed . . .
and the almond tree blossomed
and the thicket grew loud with nightingales.

. . . A question
now four decades old:
I salute that question’s answer;
and an answer
as old as your departure;
I salute that answer’s question . . .

And today,
it’s preposterous,
here we are at a friendly airport
by the slimmest of chances,
and we meet.
Ah, Lord!
we meet.
And here you are
it’s absolutely preposterous-
I recognized you
but you didn’t recognize me.
“Is it you?!”
But you wouldn’t believe it.
And suddenly
you burst out and asked:
“If you’re really you,
What do you hate
and who do you love?!”

And I answered-
my blood
fleeing the hall,
rushing in me
like the shadow
cast by a cloud of starlings:
“I hate departure,
and I love the spring,
and the path to the spring,
and I worship the middle
hours of morning.”

And you wept,
and flowers bowed their heads,
and doves in the silk of their sorrow stumbled.

I would suggest also An Endless Migration In Us…The Fourth Qasida by Managua Gunn.

16 thoughts on “Meeting At An Airport

    1. I got acquainted to Taha Muhammad Ali’ s poetry with “The Fourth Qasida” that became very personal for me. To tell the truth – also this one has.
      Airports and conversations…yes, with that interesting crowd one meets there – can’ t be not colourful. 🙂


  1. Reminds me of a very unique brief meeting which turned into a nice chat between me and a guy from India who was about to fly on his 20 hour long journey and was panicking due to flight delay and another from U.S going to Tehran, Iran…. that was interesting… was he a CIA? I still wonder……
    nvm my memories, they’re too young 😛 I love that poem above!!!


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