“To Make Use of Water” by Safia Elhillo
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“To Make Use of Water” by Safia Elhillo


My name is Safia Elhillo, and this poem is called
“to make use of water.” dilute i forget the arabic word for economy i forget the english word for عسل forget the arabic word for incense & english word for مسكين arabic word for sandwich english for صيدلية & مطعم & وله ‎ /stupid girl, atlantic got your tongue/ blur back home we are plagued by
a politeness so dense even the doctors cannot call
things what they are my grandfather’s left eye swirled thick with smoke what my new mouth can call glaucoma while the arabic still translates to the white water swim i want to go home dissolve i want to go home drown half don’t even make it out or across you get to be ungrateful you get to be homesick from safe inside your blue
american passport do you even understand what was lost
to bring you here

100 thoughts on ““To Make Use of Water” by Safia Elhillo

  1. Bereavement. Homesickness. A first kiss. Experiences like these transcend our rational understanding of the world. In such moments, we need poetry.

    That's why we're excited to have paired contemporary and classical poems with award-winning animators to help us all better understand the most inexplicable parts of life.

    Today, we published six poems in our new series "There's a Poem for That". We hope you love these poems as much as we do! Check out the whole series here:http://bit.ly/TEDEdTheresAPoemForThat

    Let us know in the comments which poems you'd love to see animated as part of this series.

  2. First of all the poet describes how she had forgotten some words like(sandwich,honey,pharmacy,etc..)
    Which is a metaphor used to describe how much dose she lack in her environment .

    Further more she talks a bit about her country and the bad situation she is in
    and she said that "her father became a smoke" which is also a metaphor for death in in the battle field and how war leads to nothing but death deprivation destruction.

    Then she talks about the white water and the atlantic in which she described how harsh is it to get to the other side and that almost half of the ship members often die.

    at the end she finally arrive to the land of dreams and opportunity, the united states
    And start to try to advice it people to be happy with what they got and remind them how hard is it for other people "the unlucky" to afford what an average American gets daily.

  3. Well this poem makes me feel bad for being an American and eating processed food and having ac and having electricity and… basically… I feel bad about being upset over anything

  4. Due to the blessing of TED-ED , and the team behind it, I finally understand the amazing world we live, and how we can do so many more things than we think we can do. Thank you so much. Keep this channel Forever great as it always was

  5. Beautiful poem. I hate to feel guilty simply for being born, but I know that this poem isn't about me – it's about other people and how we can't forget them. This poem isn't supposed to make me/us feel guilty, but to remind me to be grateful and appreciate what I have and to remember to help others when I can. Thank you for writing this Safia and thank you for publishing this here Ted-Ed <3

  6. Alright, who narrates most of the videos on this channel and did the outro here? His voice is so familiar that it'd be nice to know him by a name. Wonderful Poem, however. As always, the animation was also wonderful.

  7. The use of shapes and colors and transitions in this video was brilliant and I loved all the little details and the symbolism of the shoe, floating aimlessly and without control from one place to another, passive, sticking out with its tacky, artificial color and design and not quite fitting anywhere (carrying the word "love" with it).
    Beautiful, creative and touching piece of animation and poem. Kudos to all artists involved and to Ted-Ed for creating this. ♥️

  8. Oh my gosh, love this! Hope TED-Ed does more of these—beautiful stories from diversified cultures, ethnicities, & journeys.

  9. TRANSLATION TIME

    Economy=اقتصاد=aq-qitsaad
    عسل=Honey='asal
    incense/Perfume=عطور='awtor
    مسكين=Poor=Miskeen
    sandwich=ساندويتش/شطيرة =shateerah/sandweesha
    صيدلية=Pharmacy=saydoleeah
    مطعم=Restaurant(literally place of feeding)=mat'am
    ولة=I swear by God=walah/walahee

  10. Striking, beautiful, true, a life between two worlds and in no one at the same time, living In the blur of two worlds which you'll never leave or find, struck by fear, determination, sadness, happiness melancholy, anger and impotence at once.

  11. "Do you even know what was lost to bring you here?" Those words hit me straight in the heart. Wow. The atmosphere created by this video really complements the poem and that which it entails. !مشا الله

  12. OMG THIS IS ABSOLUTE PERFECTION.
    Please do animations of Keats' Odes, and 'the love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. (Eliot), and 'the castaway' by William Cowper.

  13. When the scenes are still depicting her home country, there will always be a triangle shape in the middle of the frame. When the scenes are depicting her journey across the sea (symbolized by he slipper), a circle shape is in the middle of the frame instead.

  14. I find it to be extremely arrogant. just had to throw shade at america. you dont get to tell people how to appreciate things.

  15. It's really surprising how arabic captions can deliver such feelings… thx for whoever helped translating this poem ♡♡♡

  16. I am currently suffering from depression due to loneliness caused by living in a foreign country for work. That last line hit me so hard that it made me cry.

  17. All my life i lived in delhi, school, college, first job, everything. To the extend that i never stayed out of delhi for more than 3consective days. Then a couple if years back i moved to Bangalore for work. Nice people, awesome job, good friends. Initially when i used to come back to delhi, it felt like i am coming home. But now it feels like i am coming to Delhi for vacation and my actual life is in Bangalore. I miss the homely feel, the local language connect when i am in blr, and my freedom, more open culture when i am in delhi. Till few years back, i loved delhi with no plans to move anywhere. But now, i am no longer content with staying in Delhi. It feels like i am always missing something. To gain something, u hav to lose something else.

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