Read each verse.
And the sheer poetic beauty shall unfurl and irrepressibly astound.
We do not need to be reminded:
Mount Carmel is in us and on our eyelashes the grass of Galilee.
Do not say: If we could run to her like a river.
Do not say it:
We and our country are one flesh and bone.
You sang your poems, I saw the balconies
desert their walls
the city square extending to the midriff of the mountain:
It was not music we heard.
It was not the color of words we saw:
A million heroes were in the room.
This land absorbs the skins of martyrs.
This land promises wheat and stars.
We are its salt and its water.
We are its wound, but a wound that fights.
Sister, there are tears in my throat
and there is fire in my eyes:
I am free.
No more shall I protest at the Sultan’s Gate.
All who have died, all who shall die at the Gate of Day
have embraced me, have made of me a weapon.
Ah my intractable wound!
My country is not a suitcase
I am not a traveler
I am the lover and the land is the beloved.
The archaeologist is busy analyzing stones.
In the rubble of legends he searches for his own eyes
that I am a sightless vagrant on the road
with not one letter in civilization’s alphabet.
Meanwhile in my own time I plant my trees.
I sing of my love.
It is time for me to exchange the word for the deed
Time to prove my love for the land and for the nightingale:
For in this age the weapon devours the guitar
And in the mirror I have been fading more and more
Since at my back a tree began to grow.
Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008)
This is now tacked to both my office and home wall, to remind of the sheer beauty that can be rendered by the mere pen and mind.