Mahmoud Darwish introduced by Michael March
Mahmoud Darwish (13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) Palestinian poet
“A guest house at sea — the visit is short”Only
two things are certain—death and coffee
Napoleon said—“War is the simple
art of execution—”.
Samih al-Qasim said—“From the
window of my small cell
I see your large cell—”.
“The exile looks around—to see
which way to go.”
For Mahmoud Darwish—“We travel
like other people—
but we return to nowhere. As if travelling is the way
of the clouds.”
For Darwish: “All beautiful poetry is an act of resistance—”.
“Night is a history of
longing—and you are my night.”
I was sitting with Samih al-Qasim
Those blue waters held many
lifetimes—and many lifetimes
“We have a country of words. Speak speak—so I can put
my road on the stone of a stone.
We have a country of words. Speak speak—so we may know
the end of this travel.”
All poets are exiles. The master determines the definition
of words. When universals resemble politics—flies cover
“Do you know the dead—?
I know the ones unborn.
They will be born beneath the
They will be born under the rain,
They will be born from stone,
They will be born from broken
They will be born in corners,
From defeats, from mirrors,
They will be born from shrapnel,
From bracelets, from blossoms,
They will be born and they will
They will be born and killed,
They will be born and born—and
There are many temptations to
live—to seek an identity.
We live upon the dead—“the dead
are gentle to us—.”
We tried to telephone Darwish in
Paris—the line was dead.
“How far—is far—how many ways to
For the Greeks it was natural to
be—nowhere. At least for
philosophers and poets—who were
“out of order”—.
For St Augustine—“we are here—to
For Darwish—“I am here. Anything more than that—
is rumor and slander.”
“Where am I? ‘You’re in Ramallah.’ “When did I get here?”
‘Today.’ “Why don’t I remember—? Do you think I’m ill—?”
‘It’s not the illness you’re
thinking of—it’s the longing to
pursuer of an unarmed truth—where
the private voice
resembles the public voice. Victim of a map—where the
river dies of thirst.
“My heart turned into an alley—my
ribs into stones.
And carnations grew—and
“What use is poetry—what use will
it be when the war
“Put this into your record—I’m an
Arab—we love life—
whenever we can.”
Prague, 17.10.2009 ©2009 Michael March