Mahmoud Darwish

13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian

I See What I Want

I see what I want in the farm ... right now I see
braids of wheat combed by the wind, and I close my eyes
This mirage leads to Nihawand,
and this calm leads to lapis lazuli
I see what I want in the sea ... right now I see
a rush of swans at sunset, and I close my eyes
This wandering leads to an Andalusia,
and this sail is a dove's prayer over me
I see what I want in the night ... right now I see
the endings of this long life at one of the cities' gates
I will toss the pages of my log into the cafes at the dock and find a seat
for my absence aboard one of the ships
I see what I want in the soul: the face of a stone
scratched by lightning- green, oh land, green is the land of my soul-
haven't I been a child playing at the edge of a well?
I'm still playing ... this space is my playground and the stone is my wind
I see what I want in peace ... right now I see
a deer and grass and a stream of water ... and I close my eyes:
this deer is asleep on my arm
and the hunter asleep, too, near its sons, in a faraway place
I see what I want in war ... right now I see
the arms of our ancestors squeezing a wellspring into green stone
And our fathers inherited the water, but did not bequeath it, and I close
my eyes:
The land in my hands is the work of my hands
I see what I want in prison: days of a flowering
that led from here to two strangers in me
seated in a garden- I close my eyes:
How spacious is the earth! How beautiful the earth from the eye
of a needle
I see what I want in lightning ... right now I see
farms bursting from their chains with vegetation- bravo!
The song of the walnut floats down, white above the villages' smoke
like doves ... doves we feed alongside our children
I see what I want in love ... right now I see
horses making the plain dance, fifty guitars sighing
and a swarm of bees sucking wild mulberry, and I close my eyes
to see our shadow behind this homeless place
I see what I want in death: I fall in love, and my chest opens
and a white unicorn jumps out and gallops over the clouds
soaring on endless gauze, swirling with eternal blue
So please do not stop my death, do not return me to a star of soil
I see what I want in blood: right now I see the murdered,
his heart lit by the bullet, say to his murderer: from now on
you remember
no one but me. I killed you without meaning to but from now on
you remember no one but me, nor can you endure spring flowers
I see what I want in the theatre of the absurd: fiends in judges' robes,
the emperor's hat, the masks of our time, the colour of old sky,
women who dance for the palace, the chaos of armies
Then I choose to forget everything, remember only the noise behind
the curtain
I see what I want in poetry: when poets died, we attended their funerals,
buried them with flowers, returned safely to their poetry ...
now in the age of magazines, movies, and droning, we laugh—sprinkle
a handful of soil on their poems, come home to find them at our door
I see at dawn what I want in the dawn ... right now I see
nations looking for bread in other nations' bread
Bread is what unravels us from the silk of drowsiness, from the cotton
of our dreams
Is it from a grain of wheat that the dawn of life shines ... and the
dawn of war?
I see what I want in people: their desire
for yearning, their reluctance to go to work,
their urgency to come home ...
and their need for greetings in the morning

Translated by Saadi Simawe and Ellen Doré Watson from the Arabic
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