Monday, 11 August 2008

The Passing of a Palestinian Poet: Mahmoud Darwish

Laila of Raising Yousuf and Noor informs us that the celebrated Palestinian poet passed away yesterday. I have often heard of this poet, but still haven't got round to reading his work - something I'd love to rectifiy. Lailia posts a poem, from which I recognised a line. It has been used by Edward Said as the title for an eloquent elegy (or is it a paen? I'm no good at poetry) for his beloved people, After the Last Sky. I should add that the blog Improvisations has posted an interesting review of his book Memory for Forgetfulness. And finally, related in theme, is this music video In my Heart.

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

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