Mahmoud Darwish: “The Seven Days of Love”

The Seven Days of Love

 

Tuesday: The Phoenix

It would be enough for you to pass by these words
for the phoenix to find its image in us, and for
the spirit born of spirit to be born of flesh.
The spirit needs a body to burn,
to burn within itself and for itself, there must be a body
for the spirit to reveal what eternity can’t see.
So let us burn then, for nothing but union.

 

Wednesday: The Narcissus

Her age was twenty-five different women.  She was born
as she wanted to be, circumambulating her image in water
as though it were another’s.  She said: I need a night
so I can escape into myself.  She said: I need a love
so I can hurdle across this tower.  She withdrew
from her shadow so lightning would pass
between these two, as a stranger passes
through the wilderness of a desert poem.

 

Thursday: Creation

I found myself, inside and outside myself,
with you as the mirror between the two.
Sometimes the earth visits you to make itself beautiful,
to climb into the reasons for a dream.
But I’m not that way.  I can be exactly as
you left me yesterday: close to the water,
cloven into earth and sky.  O but where are they,
the earth and the sky?

 

Friday: Another Winter

If you go far away, please hang my dream
on a box of memories of you and of me.
Another winter will come, and I will see
two doves light upon the chair.  I’ll see
that way you prepared the coconut, so its milk
spilled from my words onto someone else’s carpet.

If you go, please take the winter with you!

 

Saturday: The Wedding of the Dove

Listen to my body: Bees have their gods
and the cries of horses have their numberless fiddles.
I am the clouds, and you the earth, chained to a fence
by the eternal moan of desire.
Listen to my body: death has its fruits
and life has a life that renews itself only
in a body that listens to the body.

 

Sunday: In a Minor Key

He loves you.  Come closer, like a cloud.
Come close to the sad stranger hovering above me
by the window.  The one who says: I love her.
Come down like a star.  Come down upon this traveler
so his journey might go on.  The one who says: I love you.
Unfold like the darkness.  Unfold inside the lover’s
rose of red, and hang there waiting like a tent.
Hang there, in the solitude only a king could know.

 

Monday: Andalusian Song

I pass by your name when I am alone,
like a Syrian passing through southern Spain.

Here, the lemon tree set fire to the salt of my blood.
Here, a wind came rushing across the back of a mare.

I pass by your name.  No army, no country can
lay siege to me now.  As if I were the last of the guards,
or a poet strolling down the street of his own obsessions.

 

Mahmoud Darwish

Translated from Arabic by Paul Weinfield, © 2014
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