Monday, January 11, 2010
on the road to Baalbek part 5, or seeing Venus with new eyes
"At that time the earth was so high up
women hung out clouds and laundry on the same line
angels gripped their skirts to keep them from following stray souls"
~ Venus Khoury-Ghata
Can you imagine hanging your laundry at the edge of the Qannoubin (Kadisha) Valley? I love hanging laundry out on a sunny day, so Khoury-Ghata's poem spoke to my laundry-loving soul. It seems the Qadisha Valley keeps returning to me. This holy valley is a World Heritage Site. The people who live along its parameters have Her holiness in their bones and souls, and it comes out in the most creative ways.
The above poetic except is from the English language translation of Venus Khoury-Ghata's poem for noha al hegelan. Yesterday, I was doing some reading on Khoury-Ghata, who is one of the Lebanese poets I am introducing to the students in my class on the writings of Arab women. Khoury-Ghata was born in Bsharre (which is also the birthplace of Khalil Gibran). I did not know that about Venus when we traveled along the edges of the Qannoubin Valley, passing Bsharre on our way to Baalbek, but now that I know that, I have to re-read all her poems!