If home had a sound

Home, the Lebanon we adore

I know what it tastes like. Tabouleh
I know what it smells like. Mediterranean Jasmin
I know what it looks like. It hides behind my eyelids.
I know what it feels like. A grandmother’s gentle embrace.

But what it sounds like. Now that.

I don’t even hesitate. With every bomb that fell, we heard her. Growing up with her. Waking up to her crystal voice. Good Friday was never that without her singing in a church pinning us to the TV set to glimpse her veiled face. She sang for causes. She sang pleading for the demented war to stop. She sang in celebration when it did. Or when they lied to us that it did. She sang again and again.

We mouth her songs like we breathe. She sings me. My people. My land. My history. She is us. We are her.

To someone like me who has lived in and out of my homeland, her voice brings me back, makes me cry, makes me long, makes me regret leaving, makes me hate those who are still hurting the tiny spec of geography we call home. But she is there, eternal like those ageless trees that define us. Stubborn, unyielding. Like the good ones among us.

She stays, we go, we come back, we have new generations who listen to her, and she weathers it all, solid like our beaches, the rocks wildly embracing the surf in explosions of passion. The land, and her. Forever more.


This is my absolute favorite song by Fairouz. Written by the wonderful Talal Haidar, music by Ziad Rahbani. Enjoy.

(As promised, below is a translation to the best of my ability, but it doesn’t do the Arabic words justice at all, it only conveys the beautiful images of the great Lebanese poet, Talal Haidar)

Alone they remain

Like Elder flowers

Alone

They pick the leaves of time

They lock up the forest

They remain

Like the rain

Knocking at my doors, at my doors

O’ Time

As the grass wildly roaming all over these walls

I lit the night roses on my book

The tower of the pigeons is high and gated

The pigeons fled

And I stayed alone. Alone.

O’ you who are waiting for the snow

You are no longer coming back

Call on them in the rain, O’ Deeb

Maybe they will hear you

Alone they remain

Like these old clouds

Alone

Their faces dark like the night road

They are crossing the forest

In their hands, like the rain, knocking

The weeping at my doors

O’ Time

As ageless as the shade of grass on the walls

Since before the trees grew tall

I light lanterns and wait for my friends

They passed, they went away

I stayed at my door

Alone

O’ you who are going

And there is snow

You are no longer coming back

Call on them in the rain, O’ Deeb

Maybe they will hear you

O’ you who are going

And there is snow

You are no longer coming back

Call on them in the rain, O’ Deeb

Maybe they will hear you

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This entry was posted in art, Human Relationships, Lebanon, love, Philosophy, Poetry, Reflections and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to If home had a sound

  1. Patsy Locke says:

    Beautiful.. the sounds of home are timeless, aren’t they? Frozen as if encapsulated in ice, waiting to be thawed by your nostalgic, melanchol, warm wishes to ressurect the past for a time. But often with the good memories, come the bad. So glad you had heartfelt and calm sounds to also remember amidst the turmoil, Brigitte. eHugs from Michigan, U.S.A.

  2. Beautiful writing. Good song too (but i can’t understand :D)
    Thanks for sharing this

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