I love, I love, I love you. I cannot go back to the beginning of the sea.
I cannot go to the end of the sea. Say
Whither is the sea taking me in my desire for you
How often will the small beasts awake in your cry?
Take me so I may take the partridge’s food
And Saturn’s mulberry
On the lightning stone on your knees.
I love, I love, I love you. But I do not want to travel on your wave.
Let me be, leave me, as the sea leaves its shells
On the eternal coast of exile.
I am the unlucky lover, I cannot come to you. And I cannot return to myself.
—Mahmoud Darwish, from “I Am the Unlucky Lover,” in “It Is a Song, It Is a Song,” I Don’t Want This Poem to End, transl. by Mohammad Shaheen (Interlink Books, 2017)