Mahmoud Darwish’s poem, Under Siege

In honour of the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, who died recently, I want to share a few stanzas from his powerful poem, Under Siege:

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

***
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.

Translated by Marjolijn De Jager

These are a few stanzas from a much longer poem. I chose them because they touched me and rang true.

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