Monday, August 11, 2008

RIP Mahmud Darwish

Palestine lost one of its greatest sons yesterday, and it is not just Palestinians who mourn the loss of the iconic Mahmud Darwish. His words touched the consciousness of Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike the world over. He was imbued with the ability to stir our emotions, evoking tears and smiles, hope and fear, belonging and displacement, all at once-putting to words what every Palestinian felt, defining us at different moment as a nation. In so doing, he transcended the status of a mere "poet" or artist or even activist. Below is one of my favorite and oft quoted of his poems. Rest in Peace, poet of a nation and their struggle.

The Earth is closing on us
pushing us through the last passage
and we tear off our limbs to pass through.
The Earth is squeezing us.
I wish we were its wheat
so we could die and live again.
I wish the Earth was our mother
so she'd be kind to us.

I wish we were pictures on the rocks
for our dreams to carry as mirrors.
We saw the faces of those who will throw
our children out of the window of this last space.
Our star will hang up mirrors.
Where should we go after the last frontiers?
Where should the birds fly after the last sky?
Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air?
We will write our names with scarlet steam.
We will cut off the hand of the song to be finished by our flesh.
We will die here, here in the last passage.
Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.

- Mahmoud Darwish


Blogger eurofrank said...


A great loss.

I have enjoyed his poetry

Most of all I enjoyed his long drawn out and exquisite anticipation of the first coffee of the day in Memory for Forgetfulness. The anniversary of the day described just passed.

I wonder what will be marked on his gravestone.


Record on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper’s flesh will be my food
Of my hunger
And my anger!

Sit Tibi Terra Levis.

8:46 AM  
Blogger John Mullis said...

we grieve the loss of a great man

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just read an old interview of Mahmoud Darwish in ‘Il Manifesto’ and I have been really moved by this sentence:
“mi sento un poeta troiano, uno di quelli a cui è stato tolto persino il diritto di tramandare la propria disfatta.”
my quick translation:
“I feel like a trojan poet, one of those to whom they even withdrawn the right to transmit his own defeat.”

4:11 PM  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

I have long loved his poetry. He connected our hearts as no one else seemed to; a great poet indeed.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

He is free now. No doubt he is already speaking out for Palestine on the other side. May he rest in peace.

He was right you do have brothers and sisters outside the boundaries that Israel has placed around your country. Please know that we are watching, praying and speaking out on your behalf. We will not abandon or leave you.

We have brothers behind this expanse.
Excellent brothers. They love us. They watch us and weep.
Then, in secret, they tell each other:
"Ah! if this siege had been declared..." They do not finish their sentence:
"Don’t abandon us, don’t leave us."

1:17 AM  

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