Mahmoud Darwish

13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian

Defiance

Tighten my fetters.
Confiscate my papers
and cigarettes.
Fill my mouth with dust.
Poetry is blood in the heart,
salt in bread,
moisture in eyes.
It is written with fingernails,
with eyes,
with daggers.
I shall proclaim in my detention cell,
in the bathroom,
in the stable,
under the lash,
manacled,
in the violence of chains,
that a million birds
on the branches of my heart,
are singing fighting songs.
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