Poem of Mahmoud Darweesh

Lover from Palestine

“Your eyes

A thorn in my heart

Painful yet adorable

I shield it from the wind

And stab it deep through the night

Through pain

Its wound illuminates the darkness

Transforms my present into future

Dearer than my soul

And I shall forget as our eyes meet

That once we were together behind the gate


Your words were my song

I tried singing

But winter replaced the spring

Your words, like the sparrow, flew away

Like the sparrow who left our doors

After you

Our mirrors broke-sorrows engulfed us

We picked the splinters of sound

And only learned to lament the Fatherland


We shall plant it together

Over the breast of a guitar

Play it over the roofs of our tragedy

To disfigured moons and rocks

But I have forgotten

I have forgotten your voice

Was it my silence

Was it my silence or

Your departure

That rusted my guitar?


I saw you last at the port

A lonely traveler without luggage

I ran to you like an orphan, a child

Seeking answers in ancestral wisdom:

How could the green orchard be imprisoned

Exiled, banished to a port

And still remain green


I entered in my diary

I love oranges

And hate the port

Where I stood

As torrents of rain poured down

We only had the orange peels

And behind us stretched the endless desert


I saw you on thorny hills

A sheepless shepherd-chased

I saw you on the ruins and once

You were a green orchard

I stood a stranger

Knocking at your door

The doors, the windows, the cemented stone



I saw your face in the wells

In the granaries-torn

I saw you a waitress in the night cafes

I saw through the tears and wounds

And you are the words on my lips

You are the fire

And the water


I saw you at the mouth of a cave

Hanging your orphan’s rags

I saw you in the stalls, in the streets

Warming yourself by the fire

I saw you in the lamentations of misery

In blood dripping from the sun

In the salt of the sea and the sand

And yet

You were as beautiful as the earth

As children


I swear

From my eyelashes I shall weave you

A kerchief

with words sweeter than honey

And kisses I shall write:

And kisses you were

And so you will remain


I opened my doors to the night storm

On a bronzy moon

I wandered the back streets in the darkness

And I have a date with words

With the dawn of light

You are my virgin garden as

Faithful as the wheat

With our songs we shall pierce the air

And plant fertility in the dormant earth

And you like the braided palm tree

Unbending to the storm

Heedless of the hewer’s blows

Beyond the claw and the fangs of the jungle beasts


Come to me wherever you are

Whatever you have become

And return color to my cheeks

And meaning to my being

Return and take me into your eyes

Take an olive branch

Take a verse of my tragedy

A toy

Take a stone from our house

So that our descendants

Will remember their way home


Palestinian are your eyes

Palestinian is your name

Palestinian your thoughts-dreams

Palestinian your mantilla, your body

Your feet

Palestinian the words-the silence

Palestinian the voice

Palestinian in life

Palestinian in death


I carried you in my diaries

Inspiration for the fire of my words

The food for my thoughts

And in your name I shout in the valleys:

Invaders’ horses!-I met them

Though the times have changed

Beware-beware hooves and stones

I destroyed the big idols

The thunderbolt has struck the flint

I shall fill the expanses of Sham

With my songs


In your name I have shouted to the enemy:

If I sleep

Let maggots eat my flesh

Ants cannot breed eagles

And the snake hatches only snakes

Long ago

I turned away the invaders’ horses

Deep in my soul!

I know

I will turn them away again”.