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Reading “We Love What We Have” by Mosab Abu Toha


Poetry Lunch S3ES

Reading “We Love What We Have” by Mosab Abu Toha from Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear, published by City Lights Books.


There’s a lot that strikes me about this poem, not least of which are the ripe red strawberries on the facing page with mounds of sand behind them; an image doing similar work of what this poem does in the book. A breath, a full and plenty-ness dropped in the midst of much death. Ongoing.

That’s another big feeling I get from this book, a sense of going on, of not stopping. But it’s not the usual positive-perseverance narrative; it’s one of impossible endurance. Daily endurance of things that no human should have to endure yet do. So many. It’s a way past the numbers to the people.

I live very far from Gaza and I am unfamiliar with much of the history as well as current day affairs. I learned a lot reading this book / am learning and that learning has a lot to do with thinking past myself, outside myself, imagining and seeing beyond the little box I live in. Which I am always working to expand but gosh is it easy not to. I’ll end here with another few lines from this book that stopped me cold. Read them, and then listen to the poem again. See if it deepens your reverence for this writer and how he lives and shares his living:

In Gaza, some of us cannot completely die.
Every time a bomb falls, every time shrapnel hits our graves,
every time the rubble piles up on our heads,
we are awakened from our temporary death.

— Mosab Abu Toha, pg 39, Things You May Find Hidden in my Ear


Link to purchase

Get the book: Things You May Find Hidden in my Ear.