Mahmoud Darwish

13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian

Slain And Unknown… -

Slain and unknown. Neither gathered up by forgetfulness
nor dispersed by memory…they're forgotten
in winter grass on the road that runs between
two long tales, one of heroics, the other of suffering.
'I'm the victim here.'
'No, only I am the victim.'
No one says to a poet: 'One victim doesn't kill another.
In the story there's a killer and a victim.'
Once they were young, shaking snow from
the sacred cypress of Christ and playing
with small angels -
sons who were of the same generation… slipping away from school to escape mathematics
and the old hamasa poetry to play an innocent game
of death with soldiers on the barricades.
And they didn't say to the soldiers:
'Put away your guns and open the road so a butterfly
might find its mother near morning, so we might
fly with the butterfly out of our dreams, for dreams
are narrow at our door.'
They were young and at play, making up stories
to tell a red rose still under snow, behind two long tales,
of heroics and suffering, and escaping with small angels
to a clear sky…
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