in honor of May Ziadeh
Lebanese-Palestinian poet and writer
b. Feb. 1886
I meditated and prayed beside the jasmine and poppy flower candle on the altar table last night that I’d not been near for long in awhile; my eyes were closed, and I went to sleep right after, but this morning the sky looks like this.
May tapped some blush of dawn into that sky and likes to spoil me in general and seems very impressed and happy with my very ordinary, simple forms of appreciation.
I am at that place again with my jasmine flowers; I don’t sadden when I see pale spots of age on them; they breathe the air with such gratitude and grace and wash their splendor over me as they’re here so powerfully and so simply.
I picked just a few flowers that night to let the jasmine continue blooming from their spot in the wild, near home. More flowers appear when others fall away and return to the earth. I see new yellow-green leaves on my strawberry plants I’d accidentally not cared for so smartly in the past.
I am beside the slightly open window and the sky’s still blushing so much and with plenty of gold now too, my tea pot and cup upon the window sill, the zafu pillow next to me as I’m seated well on the flat zabuton cushion.
I’ve known more of the truer Jesus this time, this truest Jesus a little more tender and much more fun; this Jesus I’d create myself if had been asked to but didn’t need to because he’s already real.
An excerpt from Fleurs de Reve by May Ziadeh (1911):
[Nazareth] You were, sweet city of flowers, the occasion of beautiful moments in my existence, and of all the cities of Palestine, you were the one that will hold my heart most strongly.
I’m leaving, alas! far from the cloudy flakes of your night stars, and I will no longer see the sweet apartments that saw me smile, nor the red flowers of their lips, nor the deep looks of their black eyes, nor her beautiful dark ebony hair, nor her smile of a deeply loving friend.
It’s finished; but I carry in my heart the memory of all those nothings that were worlds for me.
I wrote this post on this blog before I had gotten up to that part (above) in her book; I felt it in my heart when I did read it:
From my post, “Leave Me For Just A Little”
But I might wonder, what is it that I’d exactly do in nature? There wouldn’t be something happening there to view as often as one might in a movie, so would it be enough?
It is. If I am not watering the plants or lifting a strawberry off the stem, I will sit and still be very close to civilization. I might find some new words of my own, read a book and slowly flip the pages, see the sky change color and shade at moments of the night or day, and listen to the little nothings that are everything.
—My excerpt from this post, Leave Me For Just A Little
Here’s a film with English subtitles about her life and writing; I found it when I looked for her piano or oud music and hadn’t found those.
The first part is about her writing and as a feminist figure; the second part focuses on other things later on like considering her relationship with Kahlil Gibran, which was through handwritten letters, the conspiracy around her mental health and inheritance, and the words she wrote in her will (read in the film in English) before she died:
Life of May Ziade (YouTube)