Fairuz in the Morning

A Tribute to the People of Lebanon
Beirut, 25 April 21
Annotations below


I’ll play Fairuz in the morning
With cappucinoed crème brȗlée
While geraniums outpouring
Bathe homes where summer cedars stay

I’ll play Fairuz in the morning
And save the foul for midday sun
While shrapnel ‘round me’s scoring
Blesséd marble mansions and sons

I’ll play Fairuz in the mourning
Reheating foul at eventide
While Katyushas ‘bove me roaring
Bruise bare stairwells ‘neath which I hide

I’ll play Fairuz in the morning
To fajr sing the light of day
While creeping vines yet growing
Baptize crowns midst wood, stubble, hay

© Kurt Mähler


It is customary for the Lebanese to play the winsome, lilting music of female Lebanese singer Fairuz each morning. She is one of the most widely loved singers in the Arab world with a career spanning six decades (b. 1934) Here is a sample collection of her “morning songs.”

Foul [pronounced “fool” or “ful”] is a Middle Eastern dish of cooked fava beans, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, parsley and tomatoes. A Lebanese proverb says that the rich eat foul for breakfast, the middle class eat it for lunch, and the poor eat it for dinner.

Katyusha is shorthand for the rockets launched by the Soviet multiple rocket launcher of the same name. It was the weapon of choice for Iran-backed Hezbollah in their 2006 war with Israel. About 4,000 of these rockets were fired–about 100 a day. Between the Hezbollah rockets and the Israeli bombardments of urban areas, about 1,300 Lebanese died.

Fajr is the dawn call to prayer in Islamic tradition, the first of five daily prayer times.

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