The Earth Is Closing on Us
– Mahmoud Darwish, Translation by Abdullah al-Udhari
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 to be killed by the last of us in the last defense of the soul.
We cried over their children’s feast. We saw the faces of those who’ll
throw our children Out of the windows of the last space. Our star will hang up in 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 head 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.
When the Martyrs Go to Sleep
When the martyrs go to sleep I wake up to guard them against professional mourners
I say to them: I hope you wake in a country with clouds and trees, mirage and water.
I congratulate them on their safety from the incredible event, from
the surplus-value of the slaughter.
I steal time so they can snatch me from time. Are we all martyrs?
I whisper: friends, leave one wall for the laundry line. Leave a night
I will hang your names wherever you want, so sleep awhile, sleep on
the ladder of the sour vine tree
So I can guard your dreams against the daggers of your guards and the plot of the Book against the prophets.
Be the song of those who have no songs when you go to sleep tonight.
I say to you: I hope you wake in a country and pack it on the a
I whisper: friends, you’ll never be like us, the rope of an unknown gallows.
We Are Entitled to Love Autumn
We are entitled to love the end of this autumn and ask:
Is there room for another autumn in the field to rest our bodies like coal?
An autumn lowering its leaves like gold. I wish we were fig leaves
I wish we were an abandoned plant
To witness the change of the seasons. I wish we didn’t say goodbye to the south of the eye so as to ask what
Our fathers had asked when they flew on the tip of the spear. Poetry
and God’s name will be merciful to us.
We are entitled to dry the nights of lovely women, and talk about what
Shortens the night for the two strangers waiting for the north to reach the compass.
An autumn. Indeed we are entitled to smell the scent of this autumn, to ask the night for a dream.
Does a dream fall sick like the dreamers? An autumn, an autumn.
Can a people be born on the guillotine?
We are entitled to die the way we want to die. Let the land hide us in an ear of wheat