For Mahmoud Darwish

I am at a loss for words. Truly. Only a few months ago you were in Amman. And I waited amidst the swarms of people just to see a glimpse of you, or hear a single syllable from one of your poems.

Your words transcended everything. Everything. God rest your beautiful soul. We are all mourning today.

He Embraced His Murderer

He embraces his murderer.
May he win his heart: Do you feel angrier if I survive?
Brother…My brother!
What did I do to make you destroy me?
Two birds fly overhead.
Why don’t you shoot upwards?
What do you say?


Photo Phil Gyford. Light projections by artist Jenny Holzer. The above poem from Fewer Roses (1986) is by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.[1]

You grew tired of my embrace and my smell.
Aren’t you just as tired of the fear within me?
Then throw your gun in the river! What do you say?
The enemy on the riverbank aims his machine gun at an embrace?
Shoot the enemy!

Thus we avoid the enemy’s bullets and keep from falling into sin.
What do you say?
You’ll kill me so the enemy can go to our home
And descend again into the law of the jungle?

What did you do with my mother’s coffee; with your mother’s coffee?

What crime did I commit to make you destroy me?
I will never
Cease embracing you.
And I will never
Release you.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008)

7 thoughts on “For Mahmoud Darwish

  1. Truly, a loss 🙁

    At least I got the chance to see and hear him live back in June in what was to be his last poetry reading – @ Ramallah’s Cultural Palace. Ramallah awaits his return now as arrangements are being made to bring his body back to be buried in Palestine’s soil 🙁

    Rest in Peace

  2. Allah yir7amo… it’s a sad day indeed. It’s even sadder that his legacy, his poetry, speak a story of ocupation, of pain …. his pen never got to write about liberation.

  3. In that poem, is his “murderer” on his side or the opposing side?

    It has a confusing mixture of togetherness and separation, and his tone at the end can meant “I understand and cherish this last connection with a human being” or “I will haunt you for doing this”.

    Any ideas?

  4. Who else would be such a poet who speaks in sarcasm straight in the face of the occupying enemy and order them to write down that he is an Arab; His ID card holds the number 50,000; He’s got eight children and a baby on the way!

    Where else can he be from other than that abandoned nameless village;
    Where all the vines and fields were confiscated; and people were left with nothing but rocks!

    How else would he look like; if not with dark hair and brown eyes?

    R. I. P. Mahmoud Darwish; and let history record on the header of its front page that you’re an Arab!

    such a loss!

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