Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Issue #
September 7, 2014

Rules of Recitation

What you need to know is that reading
is an act of worship
and the word is sacred.
More than meaning,
there are mysteries in the curve and sway
of the sound
and the sound lives in your breath
and you were born to praise.

Sit on the floor if you can –
anchor your body in the earth
as your heart is about to soar upwards
and tune in:
this is an old-fashioned
messaging experience – so much faster than instant
form the heart of the divine
into the pulse of your veins.

To read you must recite,
lean into the complex quarter notes
and find your way through the tapestry
of syllables unfurled before you.
Count the beats out on your fingers,
linger in the plush velvet of consonants,
turn the vowels over and over in the light of song;
the sacred demands such opulence.

What you need to know is that in
an impassioned recitation
letters will hum and trill through you,
words will lean and lock into one another,
a gathering of lustrous pearls.
Your lips will purse to conjure softest miracles
and part to sing the expanses of revelation.

To read, you must recite
your voice must distill the music
engraved into the words.

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