Poetry Corner: Diary of a Palestinian Wound

Read each verse.

Mull it.

Savor it.

And the sheer poetic beauty shall unfurl and irrepressibly astound.

For Fadwa Tuqan

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.

Worship it!

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

to show

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.

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This entry was posted on March 1, 2010 by in Bookwormery, Culture, Palestine and tagged , , , , .
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