Thursday, September 3, 2009


Where do words come from?
- Vénus Khoury-Ghata
(trans Marilyn Hacker)

Where do words come from?
from what rubbing of sounds are they born
on what flint do they light their wicks
what winds brought them into our mouths

Their past is the rustling of stifled silences
the trumpeting of molten elements
the grunting of stagnant waters

they grip each other with a cry
expand into lamentations
become mist on the windows of dead houses
crystallize into chips of grief on dead lips
attach themselves to a fallen star
dig their hole in nothingness
breathe out strayed souls

Words are rocky tears
the keys to the first doors
they grumble in caverns
lend their ruckus to storms
their silence to bread that's ovened alive

Jacket Magazine 18, Destiny’s Choice

PEN american Center

Venus Khoury-Ghata

Two poets with Mideast roots cross paths in St. Paul
"Some set aside Holocaust Remembrance Day to remember the horrific lessons of the past; others choose to take the time to envision a brighter future. Two poets--one Israeli, the other Lebanese--are reading and discussing their work in an attempt to create greater cultural understanding across international borders."

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