Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Crabby Tuesday

Not too much to say at the moment, so I thought I'd share a little more of the optimism that is Naguib Mahfouz. Maybe it will grace your day as it will my lecture on Thursday:

"Anis went toward the door to the balcony to feel the damp night breeze. He gazed in wonderment at the fire, surrendered to its enchantment. He thought: Nobody knows the secret of power like the Delta does. Geckos and rats and midges, and the river water; all these are my family, but only the Delta knows the secret of power. The North was an enchanted world, covered with forests that knew no day except spots of light glancing in through the lattice of leaves and branches. And one day the clouds fled away, and an unwelcome guest with crackled skin and gray face appeared, whose name was Drought. What can we do when Death is at our heels? The green shriveled away, and the birds migrated, and the animals perished. I said: Death is coming, creeping nearer, stretching out his hand. My cousins, they went southward in search of the easy life, and fruit off the tree, even if it was at the end of the earth. But my family had made for the standing lakes of Nile water, and we had no weapons save resolution, and no witness to our mad, brave deeds except the Delta. And waiting for us there, the thorny plants and reptiles and wild beasts and flies and gnats, and there was a savage feast of Death; and no witness save the Delta. They said: All we can do is fight, inch by inch, welter in blood and sweat. Forearms bloody. Eyes staring and ears pricked, and not a thing to hear except the advance of Death. And the ghosts were everywhere, the vultures wheeling, waiting for victims. No time save for action, no armistice for burying our dead. No one there to ask: Where are they going? Wonders were worked, the seeds of miracles were sown, and no witness save the Delta . . ." (Adrift on the Nile)

Back to work for now.