Mahmoud Darwish

((13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian)

And We Have Countries …


And we have countries without borders, like our idea
of the unknown, narrow and wide - countries whose maps
narrow to a gray tunnel as we walk in them and cry out
in their labyrinths: 'And still we love you.'
Our love is an inherited disease. Countries that grow
by tossing us into the unknown. Their willows
and portrayals grow, their grasses and blue mountains.
A lake widens north of the soul. Wheat spikes
spring up south of the soul. The lemon shines like a lamp
in an emigrant's night. Geography emits sacred texts.
And the ascending chain of hills reaches higher
and higher. The exile tells himself: 'If I were a bird
I would burn my wings.' The smells of autumn
become the image of one I love, soft rain seeps
into the dry heart and imagination opens to its source
and becomes reality's terrain, the only true place.
Everything distant becomes rural and primitive,
as if the earth were still gathering itself to meet Adam
descending from his paradise. I say: These are the countries
that bear us…so when were we born?
Did Adam take two wives? Or will we be born again
to forget sin?

Submitted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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