Sunday Palestinian Poetry BloggingThe Kind Hearted Villagers
I did not yet know my mother's way of life,
nor her family's when the ships came in from the sea.
I knew the scent of tobacco in my grandfather's aba
and ever since I was born here, all at once, like a domestic animal,
I knew the external smell of coffee.
We too cry, when we fall on the earth's rim.
Yet we don't preserve our voice in old jars.
We don't hang a mountain goats horns on a wall,
and we don't make of our dust a kingdom.
Our dreams do not gaze upon other peoples grapevines.
They do not break this rule.
My name has no feathers, so I couldn't fly beyond midday.
April's warmth was like the balalaikas of our passing vistors.
It caused us to fly like doves.
My first fright: the charm of a girl who seduced me into
smelling milk on her knees, but I fled that meals sting!
We too, have our mystery when the sun falls from white populars.
We are overwhelmed by a desire to cry for one who has died for nothing,
and by an eagerness to visit Babylon or a mosque in Damascus.
In the eternal saga of pain, we are the teardrop in the dove's cooing.
We are kind hearted villagers and we don't regret our words.
Our names, like our days, are the same.
Our names don't reveal us. We infiltrate the talk of our guests.
We have things to tell the woman stranger
about the land she embroiders on her scarf
with the pinions of our returning sparrows!
When the ships came in from the sea,
this place was held together only by trees.
We are feeding our cows their enclosures
and organizing our days in closets made by our own hands
We are coaxing the horse and beckoning the wandering star.
We, too, board the ships, entertained by
the radiance of the emerald in our olive tree at night,
and by dogs barking at the fleeting moon above the church tower,
yet we were unafraid.
For our childhood had not boarded with us.
We were satisfied with a song.
Soon we'll go back to our house
when the ships unload their excess cargo. from
Why Have You Left the Horse Alone? (1995) by Mahmoud Darwish
Translated by Amira El-Zein and edited by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché
Labels: Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian Poetry, Why Have You Left the Horse Alone?