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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Los Colores de mi Amor

Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.
~ Benjamin Franklin


I burn books and etch their words on the walls of my mind. I crave my reading with a ravenous hunger. I want to slow myself down to cherish the tastes of characters, styles and plots, but I'm unable to. Late at night, letters twirl around inside me. Abandoned phrases with orphaned paragraphs perform a sacrificial dance to a soundless music. A silent chuckle reverberates in my head, followed by a dry tear down my cheek. Together, they chase away the remnants of sleep as I accidentally knock the glass of water on the night-table over, spilling my dreams in a puddle on the floor. With the advent of dawn, they evanesce, leaving a fugue of bittersweet memories.

The Frères Maristes taught me French very well and made me hate it too. I was barely six when the twisted priests drilled French in my head with a quill. They force-fed me francophone ink to obliterate what little Arabic I knew. They, however, couldn't touch my imagination no matter how hard they tried. I dreamed in Arabic, fantasized, skimmed the cloud tops, soared over mountain and sea in that beautiful poetic language. If English is my public face, Arabic is my very soul.

I forgave the French their misanthropy and returned to the bosom of a perfectly sublime language. They made it second class to English only through their misgivings and their xenophobic cultural protectionism. I am re-learning French on my own and advancing in elated leaps and strides. I can't wait till I embrace its profound literature again and resume reading classic fiction.

In college, I came across an uncounted number of Latinos. No, to be precise, I didn't have a single Latino friend but had plenty of chicas latinas as my best amigas. These were magnificent women, who, over the course of our companionship, had uplifted my spirit and infused me with an inextinguishable joie de vivre. Spanish became background music to my ear, but alas I never learned it. A little over a month ago I chanced upon a small ad in a local paper. A teacher at the University of Lattakia was giving Spanish lessons in her office for beginners, here in Tartous. I called and joined her class.

Last week, and after mi profesora cubana explained a few short Federico García Lorca's poems (no less), she asked her class of neophytes to write a "colors inspired" poem in Spanish. As I struggled with restlessness that night, begging both Hypnos and Morpheus to have mercy on me, my very first Spanish inspiration ran smoothly down the gullies of the Broca's area in my brain. And I wrote this:


Los Colores de mi Amor

La nieve se vuelve blanca
ya que toca el rostro de mi querida

Las estrellas están pintadas de azul
cuando ella las mira

El cielo se llena de vida con mi alma
porque mi amante está conmigo

Su pelo se mueve al viento y
pinta la noche con tonos mágicos

Entonces... nuestro amor despierta y
sale el sol

---
Looking forward my very first Spanish fiction read -10 años con Mafalda

7 comments:

Isobel Adams said...

I always think that being able to learn a second language is impressive...not to mention a 3rd and 4th. Good for you for spending time productively even when things are so difficult. I wish I understood Spanish but I'm sure your poem is lovely. :) Thanks for sharing Abufares.

abufares tartoussi said...

@Isobel
The Colors of my Love

Snow turns white
As it touches the face of my darling

The stars are painted blue
When she looks at them

The sky come to life and my soul
'cause my love is here with me

Her hair stirs the wind
Painting the night with magical tones

Then... Our love wakes up and
The sun rises

Isobel Adams said...

Just as I suspected. :) Thanks for translating.

Gabriela said...

Wow! Abufares writes poetry in Spanish. This is HUGE!
Chapeau... bravo, amigo mío. Sigue así.

abufares tartoussi said...

@Gabriela
Muchas gracias amiga mia :-) and I really appreciate your help in correcting the few mistakes I made. I'm happy with my humble achievement, especially since I have so much affection for this beautiful language. My Cuban teacher is a great one and I look forward taking the next level with her. By the way, for the final today, I had to write an essay and make an oral presentation in class. Mine was about the Peruvian author Alonso Cueto and it went very well.

Gabriela said...

Chapeau encore! Alonso Cueto has great books and short stories. One of his novels became a feature film.
I'm impressed you know this Peruvian author.

abufares tartoussi said...

@Gabriela
I came across Alonso Cueto on Goodreads. I'm currently on a Japanese Modern Literature reading spree. My intention is to move to Latin America next and start with the lesser known names since I'm somehow familiar with the big guns. "La hora azul", by Cueto grabbed my attention and it'll probably be my first read.
Interestingly, I had to write about Lima in my essay since this is where Mr. Cueto lives. Did I tell you that I passed with flying colors? :-)