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Palestine Oasis

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My Mother
Passport
Pride and Fury
Identity Card
The Pigeons Fly
Psalm 9


Identity Card

Mahmoud Darwish - 1964

Record!
I am an Arab
And my identity card is number fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the nineth is coming after a summer
Will you be angry?

Record!
I am an Arab
Employed with fellow workers at a quarry
I have eight children
I get them bread
Garments and books
from the rocks..
I do not supplicate charity at your doors
Nor do I belittle myself at the footsteps of your chamber
So will you be angry?

Record!
I am an Arab
I have a name without a title
Patient in a country
Where people are enraged
My roots
Were entrenched before the birth of time
And before the opening of the eras
Before the pines, and the olive trees
And before the grass grew

My father.. descends from the family of the plow
Not from a privileged class
And my grandfather..was a farmer
Neither well-bred, nor well-born!
Teaches me the pride of the sun
Before teaching me how to read
And my house is like a watchman's hut
Made of branches and cane
Are you satisfied with my status?
I have a name without a title!

Record!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors
And the land which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left nothing for us
Except for these rocks..
So will the State take them
As it has been said?!

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


My Mother

I long for my mother's bread
My mother's coffee
Her touch
Childhood memories grow up in me
Day after day
I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother.

And if I come back one day
Take me as a veil to your eyelashes
Cover my bones with the grass
Blessed by your footsteps
Bind us together
With a lock of your hair
With a thread that trails from the back of your dress
I might become immortal
Become a God
If I touch the depths of your heart.

If I come back
Use me as wood to feed your fire
As the clothesline on the roof of your house
Without your blessing
I am too weak to stand.

I am old
Give me back the star maps of childhood
So that I
Along with the swallows
Can chart the path
Back to your waiting nest.


Diary of a Palestinian Wound
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.

Before June we were not fledgeling doves
so our love did not wither in bondage.
Sister, these twenty years
our work was not to write poems
but to be fighting.

The shadow that descends over your eyes
-demon of a God
who came out of the month of June
to wrap around our heads the sun-
his color is martyrdom
the taste of prayer.
How well he kills, how well he resurrects!

The night that began in your eyes-
in my soul it was a long night's end:
Here and now we keep company
on the road of our return
from the age of drought.

And we came to know what makes the voice of the nightingale
a dagger shining in the face of the invaders.
We came to know what makes the silence of the graveyard
a festival...orchards of life.

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.



Psalm 9

O rose beyond the reach of time and of the senses
O kiss enveloped in the scarves of all the winds
surprise me with one dream
that my madness will recoil from you.

Recoiling from you
In order to approach you
I discovered time.

Approaching you
in order to recoil from you
I discovered my senses.

Between approach and recoil
there is a stone the size of a dream
It does not approach
It does not recoil.

You are my country
A stone is not what I am
therefore I do not like to face the sky
nor do I die level with the ground
but I am a stranger, always a stranger.

Passport

They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck away my color in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist Who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognize me,
Ah . . . Don't leave
The palm of my hand without the sun
Because the trees recognize me
All the songs of the rain recognize me
Dont' leave me pale like the moon!

All the birds that followed my palm
To the door of the distant airport
All the wheatfields
All the prisons
All the white tombstones
All the barbed boundaries
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the eyes
were with me,
But they dropped them from my passport

Stripped of my name and identity?
On a soil I nourished with my own hands?
Today Job cried out
Filling the sky:
Don't make an example of me again!
Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,
Don't ask the trees for their names
Don't ask the valleys who their mother is
From my forehead bursts the sword of light
And from my hand springs the water of the river
All the hearts of the people are my identity
So take away my passport!

Pride and Fury

O Homeland! O Eagle,
Plunging, through the bars of my cell,
Your fiery beak in my eyes!
All I possess in the presence of death
Is pride and fury.
I have willed that my heart be planted as a tree,
That my forehead become an abode for skylarks.
O eagle,
I am unworthy of your lofty wing,
I prefer a crown of flame.
O homeland!
We were born and raised in your wound,
And ate the fruit of your trees,
To witness the birth of your daybreak.
O eagle unjustly languishing in chains,
O legendary death which once was sought,
Your fiery beak is still plunged in my eye.


The Pigeons Fly

The pigeons fly,

the pigeons come down...

Prepare a place for me to rest.
I love you unto weariness,
your morning is fruit for songs
and this evening is precious gold
the shadows are strong as marble.
When I see myself,
it is hanging upon a neck that embraces only the clouds,
you are the air that undresses in front of me like tears of the grape,
you are the beginning of the family of waves held by the shore.
I love you, you are the beginning of my soul, and you are the end...
the pigeons fly
the pigeons come down...

I am for my lover I am. And my lover is for his wandering star
Sleep my love
on you my hair braids, peace be with you...
the pigeons fly
the pigeons come down...

Oh, my love, where are you taking me away from my parents,
from my trees, small bed and from my weariness,
from my visions, from my light, from my memories and pleasant evenings,
from my dress and my shyness,
where are you taking me my love, where?
You take me, set me on fire, and then leave me
in the vain path of the air
that is a sin ... that is a sin...
the pigeons fly
the pigeons come down...

My love, I fear the silence of your hands.
Scratch my blood so the horse can sleep.
My love, female birds fly to you
take me as a wife and breathe.
My love I will stay and breasts will grow for you
The guards take me out of your way
my love, I will cry upon you, upon you, upon you.
because you are die surface of my sky.
My body is the land,
the place for you...
the pigeons fly
the pigeons come down...


Last updated 1 January 2000 Written and   Designed  By Rafic Adnan  El-saleh
Names, pictures and logos are the copyright 1998 by Organization Name Palestine Oasis
(C)Copyright 1998 Palestine Oasis. All rights reserved.