Coffee, electrified with the aroma of cardamom


Gently place one spoonful of the ground coffee, electrified with the aroma of cardamom, on the rippling surface of the hot water, then stir slowly, first clockwise, then up and down. Add the second spoonful and stir up and down, then counterclockwise. Now add the third. Between spoonfuls, take the pot away from the fire and bring it back. For the final touch, dip the spoon in the melting powder, fill and raise it a little over the pot, then let it drop back. Repeat this several times until the water boils again and a small mass of the blond coffee remains on the surface, rippling and ready to sink. Don’t let it sink. Turn off the heat, and pay no heed to the rockets. Take the coffee to the narrow corridor and pour it lovingly and with a sure hand into a little white cup: dark-colored cups spoil the freedom of the coffee. Observe the paths of the steam and the tent of rising aroma. Now light your first cigarette, made for this cup of coffee, the cigarette with the flavor of existence itself, unequaled by the taste of any other except that which follows love, as the woman smokes away the last sweat and the fading voice.

~ Mahmoud Darwish, from Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982



  1. I’m 55 years old and have never had a cigarette between my lips. This almost makes me want to try it, the operative word being “almost”. I have however, been known to smoke a pipe or cigar, but never both at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Magnificent imagery….I could almost smell the coffee, and couldn’t ignore the rockets…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WMS, WMS. Fantastic! A cup of coffee as a sensual experience. Going to have to “change it up” the next time I buy a Starbucks….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That was a treat for the senses ! ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “dark-colored cups spoil the freedom of the coffee”–Indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sense-sational!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful. Like the art of life itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, yeah, baby. Was it good for you?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michael zahaby says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love his non-political poetry and some of the lyrics Lebanon’s marvelous musician Marcel Khalifa made into glorious songs. the political stuff, i can do without. Thanks. the tone and texture are so “rich”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christie says:

    I neither smoke or drink coffee but I experience his words..his precious few moments of rhythmic, intently controlled focus against such a backdrop of uncertainty.. Mahmoud Darwish, from ‘Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982’ the title of his book so telling and strong..the excerpt you chose .. such a poignant passage. His grounding focus of an ordinary rote activity of daily preparation of his cup of coffee becomes ceremonious.. I think, He seeks comfort in his ordinary morning routine ..In his coffee preparation he says — “Don’t let it sink” &.” pay no heed to the rockets” perhaps “Don’t let it sink” is two fold don’t let the coffee sink but also don’t let the reality of the uncontrolled, um-welcomed airstrikes and rockets sink into your mind, interrupting and destroying your ability to find pleasure in the simple freedoms of life..He also takes his coffee into a narrow corridor perhaps an interior area for physical protection?, as he drifts into his mind’s corridors to escape the reality of being under siege.. He recognizes the frailty of life and I think he had to be thinking that, this is perhaps his last cup of coffee and his last fading thought of being with a women…I wonder if his title which comes from living under siege, means I can’t forget, I wish I could…so sad, this violence, that the innocent citizens of the world are the ones who pay the toll of their government’s inability to learn how to co-exist with their neighbors…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i love the imagery –

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m all over the coffee part, but will skip the smoking part.

    Liked by 1 person

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