Mahmoud Darwish

13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian

Don'T Apologize For What You'Ve Done

Don't apologize for what you've done - I'm saying this
in secret. I say to my personal other:
Here all of your memories are visible:
Midday ennui in a cat's somnolence,
the cock's comb,
a scent of sage,
mother's coffee,
a straw mat with pillows,
the iron door to your room,
a fly buzzing around Socrates,
the cloud above Plato,
Diwan al-Hamasa,
father's photograph,
Mu'jam al-Buldan,
Shakespeare,
your three brothers and three sisters,
your childhood friends -
and a klatch of meddlers:
'Is that him?'
The witnesses disagree:
'Maybe.'
'It seems to be.'
I ask:
'And who is he?'
I get no answer.
I whisper to my other:
'Is he the one that was you… that was me?'
He looks away.
The witnesses turn to my mother to confirm
he is me and
she readies herself to sing
her unique song:
'I'm the one who bore him,
but the wind brought him up.'
And I say to my other: 'Don't apologize, except to your mother.'
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