from one of Palestines most beloved poets,a favourite of mine here he speaks of those who know and seek love, to still be able to to spread love.In exile his politics rooted in his beloved Palestine.
You were a lonely voyager, without provisions.
I ran to you like an orphan
Asking the wisdom of our fathers:
" Why does the green orange grove -
Dragged in prison and port,
And in spite of its travels,
In spite of the scent of salt and longing-
Why does it always remain green?"
And I wrote in my diary:
"I love the orange, but hate the harbour."
I stood at the harbour,
And watched the world with eyes of winter.
Only the orange peel is ours,
Behind me was the desert.
I saw you on briar-covered mountains:
You were a sheperdess without sheep,
Pursued among the ruins.
You were my garden
When I was away from home.
I would knock on the door, my heart,
For on my heart
The doors and windows, cement and stones are laid.
I have seen you in wells of water
And in granaries, broken.
I have seen you in nightclubs waiting on tables.
I have seen you in rays of tears and wounds.
You are a pure breath of life;
You are the voice of my lips;
You are water ... You are fire.
I have seen you at the mouth of the cave,
Drying your orphan rags on a rope.
I have seen you in stores and streets,
In stables and sunsets.
I have seen you in songs of orphans and wretches.
I have seen you in salt and sand.
Your beauty was of earth, children and jasmine.
To weave a veil from my eyelashes
And embroider it with verses for your eyes
And with a name, which,
When watered with a heart
That was melted with your love,
Would make trees grow green again.
I will write a sentence dearer than martyrs and kisses:
"Palestine she was and still is!"
One stormy night I opened the window
And saw a mutilated moon.
I told the night: Rejoice
Beyond the fences of darkness!
I have an appointment with light and words.
You are my virginal garden
As long as our songs
Are swords when we draw them.
You are faithful as the seed
As long as our songs
Nourish the land...
You are a palm tree in the mind,
Felled by neither wind nor woodsman's axe.
Your braids have been spared
By beasts of desert and woods.
But I am the exile
Seal me with your eyes
Take me wherever you are -
Take me whatever you are.
Restore to me the color of face
And the warmth of body.
Thelight of heart and eye,
The salt of bread and rhythym,
The taste of earth... the motherland.
Shield me with your eyes.
Take me as a relic from the mansion of sorrow;
Take me as a verse from my tragedy;
Take me as a toy, a brick from the house
So that our children will remember to return.
Her eyes are Palestinian,
Her name is Palestinian,
Her dreams and sorrows, Palestinian
Her veil, her feet and body,
Her words and silence are Palestinian;
Her birth and her death
From Splinters of Bone:
Translated from the Arabic by B.Mm. Bennani,
New York: The Greenfield Review Press, 1974
More on Mahmoud Darwish here