Thanks to Tunis

By The Mighty Darwish:

Shukran li-Tunis

Thanks to Tunis. She brought me back safely
from her love, so I cried amid her women in the public
auditorium when meaning slipped out of the words.
I was bidding the last summer farewell as a poet bids
a love eulogy farewell: What will I write
after her to another lover… if I love another?
In my language, ther is a seasickness. In my language there is
a mysterious departure from Tyre. Neither Carthage reins it in, nor
the wind of the southern barbarians. I came
in a seagull’s fashion, and pitched my new tent
on a heavenly slope. Right here I’ll write
a new chapter in the eulogies to the sea: mythic
is my language, and my heart a blue wave grazing
a rock: “Don’t give me, O sea, what I don’t deserve
of song. And don’t be, O sea, more or less than a song!”…
My language takes me in flight to our eternal unknown,
behind a present broken on two sides: If
you look behind you Sodom will awaken the place
to its sin… and if you look ahead you will awaken
history, so beware of the sting on either side… and follow me.
I tell it: My stay in Tunis is between
two ranks: my home here is not my home, nor
is my exile like exile. So here I am bidding her farewell,
and the sea air wounds me… the night’s musk wounds me,
and the jasmine necklace in the words people say wounds me,
and also the contemplation in the spiral path to the suburbs of the Andalus
wounds me…

10 comments on “Thanks to Tunis

  1. kjpgarcia
    October 2, 2011

    I love Darwish. I wish more people in America read him and Qabbani and Adonis too. On a similar note, I read that Taha Muhammad Ali died -what a loss for this poetic world. Shukran for posting this wonderful poem. I hope it gets a thousand hits from people who’ve never read words as beautiful as these.

    • Layla
      October 2, 2011

      Why, thank you! That is a wonderful sentiment and I couldn’t agree more – I had great difficult finding this particular poem online, so grabbed my copy of The Butterfly’s Burden, for it is too glorious not to be shared πŸ™‚

  2. cactusshadowkid
    October 3, 2011

    I wasn’t before familiar with Mahmoud Darwish.Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Matthew Weigand
    October 5, 2011

    Wonderful piece. You have some wonderful metaphors here.

  4. Easy Living (@Easy__Living)
    October 10, 2011

    Excellent post today. I ready enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing and see you around!

    Here is a great poem to check out:The Voice Inside Me

  5. giorge thomas
    October 11, 2011

    I love your page. I’d love it if you could take a look at my blog:

    Would much appreciate it.

  6. redplace
    October 13, 2011

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing :-]

  7. marinabenjamin
    October 16, 2011

    I adore Mahmoud Darwish, so thank you for the post. Last year I read his epic poem Under Siege – do you know it ? – aloud to my reading group, the reading adventures of which I’ve begun charting at

  8. empressalice
    October 17, 2011

    Thankyou for sharing! search for beauty and stay true.

  9. Helen War
    October 22, 2011

    Really beautiful to read.

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2011 by in Poetry, Tunisia and tagged , , , , .
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