Mahmoud Darwish: “We Travel Like All People”

We Travel Like All People

We travel like all people
yet we return to nothing
as though we traveled through clouds
as though we buried our loved ones
in the shadows of clouds
or the trunks of trees.

We said to our wives:
bear us many generations
across hundreds of years
that we may complete our exodus
and glimpse a moment of our homeland
or a meter of what can never be.

We travel in the carriages of psalms.
We take our rest in the tents of prophets.
We express ourselves in a gypsy tongue.
We measure space with a phoenix’s beak.
We sing lullabies to dull the distance
to wash away the light of the moon.

Your path is long.
May you dream of seven women
to help you bear your path
on your two shoulders.
Shake a palm tree for each one
so you may know her name
and whether it is her child
who will be born in Galilee.

Our country is a country of words.
Speak, speak,
that I might lay a trail, stone by stone.
Our country is a country of words.
Speak, speak,
that we may know an end to traveling.

Mahmoud Darwish

Translated from Arabic by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Josef Koudelka
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