Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Palestinian Culture · Palestinian Literature · Passage · Poetry

Mahmoud Darwish

in a seagull’s fashion, and pitched my new tent
on a heavenly slope. Right here I’ll write
a new chapter in the eulogies to the sea: mythic
is my language, and my heart a blue wave grazing
a rock: “Don’t give me, O sea, what I don’t deserve
of song. And don’t be, O sea, more or less than a song!”…
My language takes me in flight to our eternal unknown,
behind a present broken on two sides: If
you look behind you Sodom will awaken the place
to its sin… and if you look ahead you will awaken
history, so beware of the sting on either side… and follow me.

—Mahmoud Darwish, from “Thanks to Tunis” (tr. by Fady Joudah), The Butterfly’s Burden. (Copper Canyon Press 2006)

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