For Mai Ghassoub and Julia Darling

On 17 February my dear friend Mai Ghassoub passed away. On the 1 March she was cremated in London and the service was beautiful, dignified and fitting for her. I kept thinking that the coffin was too small for her generous heart. I shall miss her, her smile, her vivaciousness and her polyglottal and limitless knowledge. We were bookish, you see, always reading around. Whenever we met her first question to me was, ‘Waynk: where have you been? And where is your next novel?’

We shall meet somewhere kind
A sea-side café in Beirut or Whitley bay
In a still frame
Enveloped by perpetual luminous light
At an endless sa’at ‘auns: an hour of conviviality
In a cloud of orange blossom perfume
Your fine hands captive, but flying
Your eyes listening
You are the one who loved most

I am the one who saw least and regretted first

We shall meet somewhere
Where our limbs are safe
Where the Green Line* is just a colour
Where words are free
And static* ideas are obsolete
Somewhere, my friend, east of the

Your eyes listening
You are the one who loved most
I am the one who saw least and regretted first

We shall meet somewhere
Where our limbs are safe
Where the Green Line* is just a colour
Where words are free
And static* ideas are obsolete
Somewhere, my friend, east of the heart,
Where mirrors are complete
And Arabic coffee is extra sweet

___________________________________

* The Green Line used to separate east from west Beirut during the Civil War
* Referring to Adonis’s book The Static and the Dynamic

5 March, 2007

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