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  1. Fatima

From the album Flanagan's Field

Lyrics

I had a book of African proverbs
for my English tongue
Children watched
as I flipped through the pages for one
The village elders would laugh
as I stumbled on their words
But Fatima never cracked a smile
There was something different about her

She suddenly approached me with a simple tune
and a gesture to show me what to do

Anasara, anasara
don't you understand?
Won't you put down your book
Won't you slow down to look
in our village
we shake hands

Fatima walked down the road on her barefeet
every afternoon
She carried the woodpile high on her head
and she never got home too soon
The dust from the bus
that passed her every other day
spit sand in her eyes
But she looked up anyway
to see me sitting in side

We stared back and forth
in a black and white cartoon
while she sang this simple tune

Anasara, anasara
don't you understand?
Won't you put down your book?
Won't you slow down to look
In our village
we shake hands

Fatima didn't go to school
She couldn't read a word
But she knew everything
I needed to learn

I sat in mud hut
swatting mosquitoes
sweating through my clothes
Fatima clapped at my doorway
She saw I was alone
She brought a pot of leaf sauce
spicy and still warm
We ate a meal in silence
in customary form

As she was leaving
I reached for her hand
She smiled
as she saw the book on my nightstand

Anasara, anasara
Now you understand
You have put down your book
You have slowed down to look
It is nice
to shake your hand

Anasara, anasara