By: Renee Yaseen

“Yeah right, so you’re all just gonna hold hands and sing—“ 


Yes. As a matter of fact, 

We are all going to hold hands and sing!

And dabke (stamp our feet) 

in mirthful circular formations, 

Laughing as our eyes whip from side to side and peer

humbly down to keep in line with our neighbor

And not step on their toes 

There is not a body ahead nor behind.

all of us are in our place — you must only enjoy the staying 

and the soul of shared breathing. 


Aristotle’s decreed that

Man must rule 

and be ruled in turn. The dabke, then, 

is a model of complete community. 

And the circle is the perfect center of our happy city. 

Where the currency is walking steps, 

And all the awkward shuffling of learners, the missed steps and off-time kicks, 

The bumps in the line, 

are muffled and forgotten in the pounding of the drum 

Who’s passionate beat trains our hearts to be bellowingly loud 

And consistently forgiving. 


And the excellence is the flying, the leadership and utter creative freedom, achieved 

By the person at the front of the line, 

They alone will set the pattern for the round, 

And show us how they break it. 


We yell nonsense words of encouragement to this person. 

And this administrative office, is truly open 

to any of those who have worked to be light of foot and loose of knee. 

Who have tried and failed and tried again – 

To any of us, young or old, who are brave enough to be seen. 


My dad would teach the dabke steps to me on the deck in the summertime like 

Step 1, 

Step 2, 


And…. crush the cockroach with your foot! 

(or the scorpion! My dad has allegedly seen many scorpions). 


Once you have smushed all of the roaches that you want, 

I think you can move on to uglier fears – with the spike of your heel and pointed toe, with quick lightness and grace, they are gone, 

and the dabke music will carry on for you.

Renee Yaseen is a student at the University of Notre Dame, where she studies Economics and Arabic, with a minor in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, & Economics). She is a Syrian-American poet, artist, and musician. 

Instagram: @reneeissance_ 


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