Page 25 - Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT
P. 25

Fiction SANJE 27at it until they too finally ran out. Adi left Halima out of both the first and second rounds so she could get the idea of it. She clearly had such a good time listening that Adi called on her to get ready as they moved into the third round. She was a little afraid, but also flattered that he already had this much confidence in her, and part of her also wanted to see how she measured up against her companions.Miriam delivered the first verse.“If like a bird on wings I flew ...” Adi waited for a moment, then started calling on them in sequence. They responded.Zuleika: “I’d always keep the sun in view.”Sara: “And follow toward the morning dew.”Aisha: “I’d help the orphaned destitute.”Sit: “Would sing them songs of every hue.”Jada: “And guard that all the notes were true.”Here Adi amiably nodded toward Halima and called on herto continue.She blushed and gave it a try.“So you and I could fly ...”She got stuck and couldn’t go on.“It’s on the tip of my tongue,” she said.They all laughed, and Adi winked at Fatima.“All right. Fatima, you help her out.”Fatima completed Halima’s line, “Then you and I could fly, we two.” But Halima instantly opposed this.“No, that’s not what I meant,” she said. “Wait, I’ll get it.”And, clearing her throat, she truly did.“So you and I could fly to heaven above.”Her words were met with an outburst of laughter. Red with angerand shame, she got up to run to the door, but Miriam blocked her way. Then they were all at pains to comfort and encourage her. Gradually she calmed down and wiped her tears away. Adi explained that the art of making poetry was a blossom that could only be attained with prolonged effort and that she shouldn’t despair if she failed the first time. Then he called on the girls to continue, but most of them had already run out ofrhymes. On their own, Fatima and Zainab took up a kind of dialogue. Fatima: “Let what you’ve heard, Halima, be for your education.”

   23   24   25   26   27