A Poem Entitled TALIM

TALIM Lucy Melbourne closeupLucy Melbourne, American writer on Morocco, Fulbright scholar, and comparitive literature professor has done us a singular honor, with the publication of her poem "TALIM" in MLM – Le Magazine Littéraire du Maroc.  It's in the Autumn 2011 issue.

As Lucy says, it's further proof that English has become a language of literature in Morocco.  It's already important in other areas of socieity.

Though she had sent us the text, we embargoed it until she shared it with an audience of Moroccans and expats, students and adults, at Friday's reading at the Legation.  The text is at the end of this post.

An accomplished writer, Lucy is also a fun storyteller, and all enjoyed her story "Passport," which, though it takes place when she once neglected to bring her passport with her on a prior trip to Tangier from Rabat, is also a story of a child's impressions of the diplomatic life, via this tangible, magical booklet called "passport-passeport" (Lucy, as a child, equated passport with moving from Philadelphia to Baghdad to wherever else her Foreign Service father's career led the family).

In Morocco, where Lucy spends sizable chunks out of every year, she has organized a sort of literary lionesses club, a salon where women from the arts and literature, Moroccan and expat, can gather and compare notes and offer mutual support.  This has blossomed into the forthcoming publication of Kaleidescope, a cross-cultural collaboration between three American and three Moroccan women, artists, photographers, and writers.

Lucy's reading at TALIM – her second in a year – cost the US Government $0.00.  But her low-key, in-the-field work with her informal but highly innovative group of Moroccans and Americans is the kind of thing that not only builds goodwill, but also leaves a lasting mark.

And with that, we leave you TALIM – to our knowledge, the only poem dedicated to an institution named after an idea: education.

Gerald Loftus

– – – – – – – – – – –


No.  It must know


such beauty,

not live


fodder for the

refuse of these

teeming streets



              The fine lines of

              artists, the paint,

              the clouded reflections

              in very old mirrors

              edged with gilt and

              tumescent flowers;


              The piano and the oud

              in silent rooms;


              The library with

              luminous tooled



              And the miniature

              contained nature

              of Jasmine bowing

              to an alabaster



*the acronym TALIM means education in Arabic

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