Mahmoud Darwish

13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian

I Remember Elsayyab… -

I remember Elsayyab, screaming uselessly in the Gulf:
'Iraq, Iraq, there's only Iraq…'
Only an echo answered.
I remember Elsayyab, in the Sumerian vastness
the feminine overcame the infertility of mist
and bequeathed earth and exile together.
I remember Elsayyab, poetry is born in Iraq,
so be an Iraqi, my friend, if you want
to be a poet.
I remember Elsayyab, he didn't find life
as he imagined it between the Tigris and
the Euphrates, didn't contemplate the plant of immortality
like Gilgamesh, didn't think of resurrection…
I remember Elsayyab, taking laws from Hammurabi
to redeem a wrongful act and walking like a mystic
to his grave.
I remember Elsayyab, touched by fever
and hallucinating: 'My brothers prepared supper
for Hulagu's army, there were only my brothers
for servants…'
I remember Elsayyab, we didn't dream of nourishment
too good for a bee, didn't dream of more than two small hands
to shake our absence.
I remember Elsayyab, dead blacksmiths rose up from their graves
to make our chains.
I remember Elsayyab, poetry is an experiment
and an exile - twins -
we didn't dream of life other than it is, dreamed only
of dying our own way.
'Iraq, Iraq, there is only Iraq…'
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