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Articles tagged "Faith"

Notes on Credulity, part 2

Read the first part of this essay here. My father cherished two things: Mass and the opera. He was a cantor in the church and when he used to visit us in Berlin, where we lived for a number of years, he’d regularly visit the Komische Oper—always alone. Was he protecting what he loved from the perils of debate? Or did he intuit that when it comes to art and God we are always alone with ourselves? And then there’s this: I met my husband at a monastery in the south of...

from “Soul Mate”

My father-in-law, Feibush, arrived unannounced at my doorstep in the middle of the week. I was writing out a mezuzah and so, fortunately, my cabinet of secular books was closed. Feibush’s eyes brightened when he saw the parchment, the quill in my hand, and the large yarmulke upon my head. Only when his gaze rested upon the closed book cabinet did a kind of cloud descend over his face. I suspected that he knew full well what trials and tribulations hid upon those shelves. And though...

The Pig

Asbjørn Hall was admitted to an Oslo hospital on December 4th, 2003, for an intestinal operation, a rather unpleasant business no one would look forward to. But Asbjørn Hall was seventy-eight and had never been ill before, barring minor complaints such as colds, toothache, and the occasional hangover. For that reason he realized now this was no more than to be expected; that's not saying he saw this as some punishment for a long and godless life—no, Asbjørn...

Scale and Stairs

If you climbed up the back stairs to the church a piano stood like a sad black animal in a corner of the nave. The child reflected in the black sheen of the piano opened the cover and cautiously began to play. Though her hands were too small to thaw the frozen keyboard, the sound rising into the cold air of the church was incense for a ten-year-old to burn. The back door opened, and when the deacon and his old mother entered she shut the cover and walked down the stairs....

A Juicer

So many saints that they obstruct the heavens. We have yet to buy a plastic Christ. Holy water which will be absorbed by the blotting paper of sin. Thoughts of unbelief watch us closely. Love converts. A reckless juicer squeezes shy testimony from us. Yes. Translation of "Sokowirówka." Copyright by Ewa Lipska. By arrangement with the auhor. Translation copyright 2007 Robin Davidson and Ewa Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska. All rights reserved. Read...

(“Parousía”)

Our time, why shouldn't I go backward into the moment with my trembling preferences, my restless desire, my thought's uttermost solitude? When I blink I usually see my mother, sitting on the sofa with a book, the gaze from her eyes full of shimmering darkness. Am I filling you up? Maybe you could slap me or kiss me or stick a finger in one of my orifices or in some other way connect yourself to my body. I feel rather like the hand of John of Damascus, cut off...

The Veiler of All Deeds

NOTE: Born in 1968, Hamdy Abu Golayyel is of Bedouin origin and lives in Cairo. In keeping with a growing trend in Egyptian fiction, Thieves in Retirement-the novel from which this excerpt is taken-is set in a crowded Cairo apartment building, the various inhabitants of which offer a cross-section of Egyptian society, while highlighting a modern sense of displacement and urban alienation. Thieves in Retirement will be published by Syracuse University Press in 2006. People are...

Mrs. Saniya’s Holiday

Under the beam of light that fell from the one window of the room, darkening the rest of this particular place, Abla Saniya, the seamstress, starts up her machine aware of making use of the last thread of daylight before darkness takes over the room. Abla Saniya turns on the electric light whose cord comes through the same window, for which she pays five pounds every month and which she takes great care in collecting, since her income melts into the smiles of her youngsters and the...

The Chaldean Ruins

Ascetic he emerges from its belly to the grave. His days are not entered on the calendar and he does not gather the things that are scattered. Earthquakes do not shake him nor wink at death without him. Was he born before the earth or after her wails? A wind blew by and did not shake the tree. They said: It was no wind but his sighing. He is the unsettled Chaldean and it was no tree but the elongated roots of his village. Dried out he releases water into the fields then...

“Will nothing of my earthly fame endure?”

Will nothing of my earthly fame endure? Not even flowers, not even songs! What can my heart do? In vain we have sprung forth, we have come to be on earth. Let us enjoy ourselves, my friends, let us embrace here, as we walk the flowered earth. Let no one bring an end to the flowered earth, let no one bring an end to flowers and songs; they shall endure in the house of the Giver of Life. Earth is the place of the fleeting moment. Is it the same in the place where one...

Two Poems

The Oracles of the Virgin Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.--Oscar Wilde Buried inside us were the sounds of the words our parents managed to utter in the moment of intercourse before they fell silent at the wonder of budding life. Buried inside us were the sounds of the songs we heard in the cradle before our mothers had forgotten the oracles of the Virgin. Buried inside us were the sounds of the grinding of...

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