The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Marcel Khalifa – The Child and the Kite

In Arabic a kite and plane are the same thing, Tayaara, which means a thing that flies. So when the title says “The Child and the Kite” it could be also “The Child and the Plane” and both would be appropriate for this poem. In other words, there is an ambiguity in Arabic that is lost in translation.

    Marcel Khalifa – The Child and the Kite

    There was once a little child
    Playing in the village, searching for a string to fly a kite
    He looked around and said, “I don’t know what that is shining”
    “Look, look the plane”
    “It’s coming towards me”

    “It’s a big plane (kite), I don’t need a string”
    “And its wings are bigger than the neighbors’ house”
    His heart fluttered and flew on the wings of the plane
    And the whole sky told him its secrets

    He stopped in the square and called to his friends
    This roar of the plane was more powerful than all the voices

    The boys gathered and stopped their game
    And the country shook, a story like a lie
    And the roar became a big cloud of smoke, I don’t know what happened
    The siren sounded
    The plane carrying stories and poems
    Set fire to the land and destroyed the home
    It destroyed the home, destroyed the home

    And flew off into to the borders
    The borders that birthed me, lightning and thunder bombarded the world
    The game flew away, and with it the story
    And the boys became shards of the story

    The story written on the village terraces
    The timid village lit like a candle

    And the candle shone bright, and the scream reverberated
    Aaaaaah! Aaaaaah! Aaaaaah!