Poetry Club: الطائر الطالب

This past Friday was the Arabic Talent Show, kicking off the beginning of the end of the semester for me. Each time I go, I realize how at home I am at OU. As usual, it was great to see what the other students have been working on, as well as the fruits of my own labor.  Since I was in Poetry Club this semester, I wrote a short poem and read it at the show. Enjoy! (The English translation is below)

ولدَ طائرٌ في شجرة

في شجرة في وسطِ الجامعة

عندما كبر بدأ الدرسةَ

مثل كل الطيورِ الصغيرة

من الشباكِ درس العربيةَ

كان هناك حروف وكلمات جديدة

والطائر كان طالبٌ فعلاً سعيد

~~~

فبدأ الطائرُ ان يكتبَ

ان يكتبَ على الارض الحروفَ

ثم جاء المطار فجرفها

جرفها بقسوة شديدة

اراد ان يتكلم مع الطلابِ الاخرين

ولكن لا احد استمعَ اليهِ

اراد ان يقرأ الفَ ليلةٍ وليلة

ولكنه شعر بثقل الكباب بكل محولة

~~~

الطائرُ الطالبً شعر بالحزن

ثم سمع شيئاً سعيداً اخيراً

في اللغةِ العربيةِ اغنيةُ جميلة

وغنى الطائرُ سعيداً في الشجرة

~~~

There once was a bird born in a tree

Born in the middle of a university

When he grew up he began his studies

Just like all the other little birdies

He studied Arabic perched in a window

Learning so many new letters and words

And the little student bird was thoroughly happy

~~~

The bird began writing the letters on the ground

But they were washed away when the rain came down

He wanted to talk with the other students in the class

But they didn’t listen; they just walked past

He wanted to read A Thousand and One Nights

But the book felt heavier each time he tried

~~~

The student bird felt very sad

But at last heard something that made him glad

In the Arabic language a beautiful song

And the bird in the tree happily sang along

~~~

Poem and translation my own, with thanks to Sophie Le, the Poetry Club, and Ustaaz Barakat

The Arabic Flagship Talent Show

Friday night was the Arabic Flagship Talent Show, where the Arabic classes and clubs demonstrate what they have learned over the course of the semester. It was also the first tornado warning of the semester. Well, I guess I did decide to go to school in Oklahoma. So I waited in a designated hallway, hoping that it would not get canceled and that I would be allowed out of the building. Thankfully, the warning was lifted just in time, and I hopped around the puddles in hope of food. It arrived later, and was absolutely delicious. I’m a big fan of baba ghanoush.

Though a bit later and damper than anticipated, the Talent Show got underway. I was actually performing in four different events, though two of them had been recorded ahead of time. I had been practicing singing Mama Zamenha Gaya in class – and will likely keep singing it, as it is very catchy. In Reading Club, we had written our own stories in the style of Kalila wa Dimna. A couple of other girls and I read ours aloud. The Drama Club had performed and recorded a version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. I played the conniving sister-in-law, which was a lot of fun. Last minute, another video I had acted in for class was added, in which I play a girl who has decided to study abroad in Egypt and needs her parents’ permission. (Spoiler alert: she’s already in Egypt). As you can see, there are lots of opportunities within the Flagship to use Arabic and expand on what you learned in class.

In addition to these acts, there was also belly dancing, poetry reading, and more singing and videos. It was all very impressive and entertaining. The saddest part of the night was saying goodbye to the graduating seniors. The Talent Show is a really cool reminder of the opportunities within the Arabic Flagship program, both for learning Arabic and for developing friendships. I felt very pleased with what I have accomplished over these past two semesters, and am very excited to see what I can explore in the fall, both in Arabic classes and in clubs.

Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair – ONAYLF

My main job as a volunteer in the Native American Languages collection at the Sam Noble museum is to digitize the collection so that it can be made available to the public. While I scan the documents, I listen to my co-workers discuss the other workings of the collection. For the last few months, I have been hearing them prepare for their biggest event of the year, the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair, or ONAYLF for short. I was excited to attend as much as I could.

The fair, which is held annually at the Sam Noble museum, was the 4th and 5th of April. It is the largest native language fair west of the Mississippi. Students from preschool to high school come and demonstrate how they have been learning and using over forty Native languages. Due to classes, I was only able to attend and volunteer for part of the first day, when the younger children were performing. They sang songs and acted in skits. At the end, I got to watch the winning videos. I also had a brief stint as a judge’s assistant and stage hand.

Through out the two days, over a thousand students performed and over three thousand guests visited the museum. It was a vivid reminder of the diversity of languages spoken in Oklahoma. I look forward to learning more about these languages through out my time here.

Tribes in Oklahoma

By Crimsonedge34 – Own work This image was created with QGIS This vector graphics image was created with Adobe Illustrator., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18101792

Language Familes of North America

Language Families of North America

CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=147033