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“What is to Give Light” by Yahia Lababidi //


What is to Give Light

What is to give light must endure
burning, a man once said
Another man became the matchstick
that set a nation aflame

But fire, and its appetite, cannot be
calculated, like freedom
Injustice and desperation make men
combustible, like dry wood

When words lose their meaning
and an entire people their voice –
so they can neither laugh nor scream –
death and life begin to taste the same

From Tunis, to Egypt, to Lebanon to Yemen
the light from a burning man proved catching
And those with nothing to lose, or offer, but bodies
fanned the embers of their hopes into a blazing dream.


About the Author: Yahia Lababidi is the author of Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing, a critically-acclaimed collection of literary and cultural essays. His first book, Signposts to Elsewhere, was selected for Books of the Year, 2008, by The Independent (UK).

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