“Mohamed ” a poem by Mahmoud Darwish

 

Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: محمود درويش‎) (13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author who won numerous awards for his literary output and was regarded as the Palestinian national poet.In his work, Palestine became a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile.

         

 

            Mohamed,
nestles in the bosom of his father, a bird afraid
of the infernal sky: father protect me
from the upward flight! My wing is
slight for the wind … and the light is black

Mohamed,
wants to return home, with no
bicycle … or new shirt
yearns for the school bench …
the notebook of grammar and conjugation, take me
to our home, father, to prepare for my lessons
to continue being, little by little …
on the seashore, under the palms …
and nothing further, nothing further

Mohamed,
faces an army, with no stone or shrapnel
of stars, does not notice the wall to write: my freedom
will not die, for he has no freedom yet
to defend. No perspective for the dove of Pablo
Picasso. He continues to be born, continues
to be born in a name bearing him the curse of the name. How
many times will his self give birth to a child
with no home … with no time for childhood?
Where will he dream if the dream would come …
and land is a wound … and a temple?

Mohamed,
sees his inescapable death approaching. But then
remembers, a leopard he has seen on the tv screen,
a fierce one besieging a suckling fawn. When it
came near and smelt the milk, it would not pounce.
As if the milk tames the wild beast.
Hence, I will survive – says the boy –
and weeps: for my life is there hidden
in my mother’s chest. I will survive … and witness

Mohamed,
a destitute angel, within a stone’s throw from
the gun of his cold blooded hunter. For
an hour the camera traces the movements of the boy
who is merging with his shadow:
his face, clear, like dawn
his heart, clear, like an apple
his ten fingers, clear, like candles
the dew clear on his trousers …
His hunter could have reflected
twice, and say: I will spare him till when he spells
his Palestine without mistakes …
I will spare him now subject to my conscience
and kill him the day he rebels!

Mohamed,
an infant Jesus, sleeps and dreams in
the heart of an icon
made of copper
an olive branch
and the soul of a people renewed

Mohamed,
blood beyond the need of the prophets
for what they seek, so ascend
to the Ultimate Tree
Mohamed !

(October 2000)

(*) Translation of 20/11/2000. All rights reserved.

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