Mahmoud Darwish: “We Have a Right to Love Autumn”

We Have a Right to Love Autumn

We have a right to love autumn. We have a right to ask:
Are the fields wide enough for still another fall?
For our bodies to lie down again like burned-up coals?
For autumn to shed its leaves like sheaves of gold?
If only we were fig leaves or cast-away weeds,
We might understand the change of season.
If only we never said goodbye to the eyes of the south,
We might learn what our forefathers were thinking of
When they flew through the air on the tips of their spears.

May the Lord and poetry have mercy upon us.

We have a right to drain the nights of beautiful women,
To speak of what shortens the evenings between strangers
Who still wait for the north to return to its compass.
Autumn, we have a right to love the scents of the fall,
To ask of the night: do dreams fall ill, just like dreamers?
Autumnal fall, can we all be born beneath a guillotine?
We have a right to die as we want to die.

Let the earth hide itself in an ear of grain.

Mahmoud Darwish

Translated from Arabic by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Jason Blake
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