To Alef, to the only home there is: one another’s hearts

Be the Peace (c) Jamie Dedes

Be the Peace

“To Alef, the letter
that begins the alphabets
of both Arabic and Hebrew ~
two Semitic languages
sisters for centuries.

May we find the language
that takes us
to the only home there is ~
one another’s hearts ….”

– Ibtisam Barakat

Ibtisam Barakat praying for peace.

Ibtisam Barakat praying for peace.

This poem is from TAKING THE SKY: A Palestinian Childhood by the Palestinian-American poet, writer, educator and humanitarian, Ibtisam Barakat (ابتسام بركات).

Ibtisam is from Ramallah, a Palestinian city north of Jerusalem. She came to the United States to work an internship with The Nation. She taught at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Ibtisam works tirelessly with children and adults to encourage creativity and life enrichment. She says, ” All voices are needed for the song of life to have all of its notes.”  Her poetry collection and children’s book, Al Ta’ Al-Marbouta Tateer (The Letter Ta Escapes), have won accolades and awards. She writes in Arabic and in English.

© poem, Ibtisam Barakat; Ibtisam’s photograph, D. Hemingway; “Be the Peace” photograph, Jamie Dedes


7 Comments on “To Alef, to the only home there is: one another’s hearts

  1. For the record, Jamie, I feel the need to comment here, as well as on FB: How long will it take, I wonder. How long for the hearts and minds of each truly to open and welcome the other’s language and stories into their ‘homes’? How stubborn can humans be … enough to oversee the corruption of their children, the compromising of future generations and the destruction of the Middle East …? I cannot help but mourn … and I cannot help thinking this about the whole of humanity and the destruction of all that’s good on Mother Earth.

    Goodness, what a misery I sound!


  2. I enjoy using the Hebrew Aleph Beit to lead me into prayer. For Aleph–“Thou art the freshness of a new beginning, the first breath of a flawless day.” There is no sound that pairs with Aleph. It is a sigh.


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