Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Three months into this move to the Middle East, and I am enchanted. Not to say the transition has not had its share of bumps, because it most certainly has.

Nonetheless, I am enchanted.

Enchanted with crisp, white robes and red-checked gutras set perfectly atop mens' heads.
Enchanted with roadside family picnics and hookah smoke in nearby parks.
Enchanted with the Egyptian women I have met, so vivacious and glamorous with their double kisses and colorful headscarves.
Enchanted with lines of camels far away in the desert.
Enchanted with the discovery of how much one can connect with people, even if you only see their eyes.

This poem by Naomi Shihab Nye called Red Brocade has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It is even more poignant now that I am living in this land of graciousness. 

The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.
I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.


Anonymous said...


Love you sweet daughter who embraces life in all spaces and places.

Anonymous said...

Wow. We found you. You are not lost to us after all. Cool blog and fabulous poem. Hope all is going well. The Smith-Kellys were marveling at how beautiful Sojo is! Glad you are all very happy and as cool as ever.
Love the A-Team