Learning Arabic: A Lesson in the Humility of Art.
Learning Arabic: A Lesson in the Humility of Art
My father instilled in his children a pride
in our heritage; we are as closely' linked
to our past as we are to one another. He also
inculcated in us a deep appreciation of education
and a love of art.
on Ottoman calligraphy
After a year of clearing phlegm from my brain,
hacking out gh's and kh's, calm K's and deep growling ones,
hiccupping glottal stops;
After months of writing dots that do their will, not mine,
marks making differences in meaning;
After keeping some letters apart
and connecting others in historical alliances
which live close to one another:
I'm as proficient in Arabic as a cat with a doorknob.
It's a lesson in humility, this calligraphy of understanding,
it takes mind-time as I follow the beautiful curved bowbends
of an artist who has traded scimitars for reeds.