NATIVE FEMALE

"Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception." (Al Imran Chapter 3 verse 185)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Under Siege

Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time

Close to the gardens of broken shadows,

We do what prisoners do,

And what the jobless do:

We cultivate hope.

***

A country preparing for dawn. We grow less intelligent

For we closely watch the hour of victory:

No night in our night lit up by the shelling

Our enemies are watchful and light the light for us

In the darkness of cellars.

***

Here there is no "I".

Here Adam remembers the dust of his clay.

***

On the verge of death, he says:

I have no trace left to lose:

Free I am so close to my liberty. My future lies in my own hand.

Soon I shall penetrate my life,

I shall be born free and parentless,

And as my name I shall choose azure letters...

***

You who stand in the doorway, come in,

Drink Arabic coffee with us

And you will sense that you are men like us

You who stand in the doorways of houses

Come out of our morningtimes,

We shall feel reassured to be

Men like you!

***

When the planes disappear, the white, white doves

Fly off and wash the cheeks of heaven

With unbound wings taking radiance back again, taking possession

Of the ether and of play. Higher, higher still, the white, white doves

Fly off. Ah, if only the sky

Were real [a man passing between two bombs said to me].

***

Cypresses behind the soldiers, minarets protecting

The sky from collapse. Behind the hedge of steel

Soldiers piss—under the watchful eye of a tank—

And the autumnal day ends its golden wandering in

A street as wide as a church after Sunday mass...

***

[To a killer] If you had contemplated the victim’s face

And thought it through, you would have remembered your mother in the

Gas chamber, you would have been freed from the reason for the rifle

And you would have changed your mind: this is not the way

to find one’s identity again.

***

The siege is a waiting period

Waiting on the tilted ladder in the middle of the storm.

***

Alone, we are alone as far down as the sediment

Were it not for the visits of the rainbows.

***

We have brothers behind this expanse.

Excellent brothers. They love us. They watch us and weep.

Then, in secret, they tell each other:

"Ah! if this siege had been declared..." They do not finish their sentence:

"Don’t abandon us, don’t leave us."

***

Our losses: between two and eight martyrs each day.

And ten wounded.

And twenty homes.

And fifty olive trees...

Added to this the structural flaw that

Will arrive at the poem, the play, and the unfinished canvas.

***

A woman told the cloud: cover my beloved

For my clothing is drenched with his blood.

***

If you are not rain, my love

Be tree

Sated with fertility, be tree

If you are not tree, my love

Be stone

Saturated with humidity, be stone

If you are not stone, my love

Be moon

In the dream of the beloved woman, be moon

[So spoke a woman

to her son at his funeral]

***

Oh watchmen! Are you not weary

Of lying in wait for the light in our salt

And of the incandescence of the rose in our wound

Are you not weary, oh watchmen?

***

A little of this absolute and blue infinity

Would be enough

To lighten the burden of these times

And to cleanse the mire of this place.

***

It is up to the soul to come down from its mount

And on its silken feet walk

By my side, hand in hand, like two longtime

Friends who share the ancient bread

And the antique glass of wine

May we walk this road together

And then our days will take different directions:

I, beyond nature, which in turn

Will choose to squat on a high-up rock.

***

On my rubble the shadow grows green,

And the wolf is dozing on the skin of my goat

He dreams as I do, as the angel does

That life is here...not over there.

***

In the state of siege, time becomes space

Transfixed in its eternity

In the state of siege, space becomes time

That has missed its yesterday and its tomorrow.

***

The martyr encircles me every time I live a new day

And questions me: Where were you? Take every word

You have given me back to the dictionaries

And relieve the sleepers from the echo’s buzz.

***

The martyr enlightens me: beyond the expanse

I did not look

For the virgins of immortality for I love life

On earth, amid fig trees and pines,

But I cannot reach it, and then, too, I took aim at it

With my last possession: the blood in the body of azure.

***

The martyr warned me: Do not believe their ululations

Believe my father when, weeping, he looks at my photograph

How did we trade roles, my son, how did you precede me.

I first, I the first one!

***

The martyr encircles me: my place and my crude furniture are all that I have changed.

I put a gazelle on my bed,

And a crescent of moon on my finger

To appease my sorrow.

***

The siege will last in order to convince us we must choose an enslavement that does no harm, in fullest liberty!

***

Resisting means assuring oneself of the heart’s health,

The health of the testicles and of your tenacious disease:

The disease of hope.

***

And in what remains of the dawn, I walk toward my exterior

And in what remains of the night, I hear the sound of footsteps inside me.

***

Greetings to the one who shares with me an attention to

The drunkenness of light, the light of the butterfly, in the

Blackness of this tunnel!

***

Greetings to the one who shares my glass with me

In the denseness of a night outflanking the two spaces:

Greetings to my apparition.

***

My friends are always preparing a farewell feast for me,

A soothing grave in the shade of oak trees

A marble epitaph of time

And always I anticipate them at the funeral:

Who then has died...who?

***

Writing is a puppy biting nothingness

Writing wounds without a trace of blood.

***

Our cups of coffee. Birds green trees

In the blue shade, the sun gambols from one wall

To another like a gazelle

The water in the clouds has the unlimited shape of what is left to us

Of the sky. And other things of suspended memories

Reveal that this morning is powerful and splendid,

And that we are the guests of eternity.

Mahmoud Darwish