Mahmoud Darwish: Poems


Why are we always told that we cannot solve our problem without solving the existential anxiety of the Israelis and their supporters who have ignored our very existence for decades in our own homeland?[65]

We have triumphed over the plan to expel us from history.[66]

"I thought poetry could change everything, could change history and could humanize, and I think that the illusion is very necessary to push poets to be involved and to believe, but now I think that poetry changes only the poet."[67]

"We should not justify suicide bombers. We are against the suicide bombers, but we must understand what drives these young people to such actions. They want to liberate themselves from such a dark life. It is not ideological, it is despair."

"We have to understand – not justify – what gives rise to this tragedy. It's not because they're looking for beautiful virgins in heaven, as Orientalists portray it. Palestinian people are in love with life. If we give them hope – a political solution – they'll stop killing themselves."[3]

"Sarcasm helps me overcome the harshness of the reality we live, eases the pain of scars and makes people smile. The sarcasm is not only related to today's reality but also to history. History laughs at both the victim and the aggressor."[5]

"I will continue to humanise even the enemy... The first teacher who taught me Hebrew was a Jew. The first love affair in my life was with a Jewish girl. The first judge who sent me to prison was a Jewish woman. So from the beginning, I didn't see Jews as devils or angels but as human beings." Several poems are to Jewish lovers. "These poems take the side of love not war,"[3]

"When he thought about hope he felt weary and bored, and constructed a mirage and said:"How shall I evaluate my mirage?" He searched in his desk drawers for the person he was before asking this question, but found no notes containing thoughtless or destructive urges. Nor did he find a document confirming he had stood in the rain for no reason. When he thought about hope, the gap widened between a body that was no longer agile and a heart that acquired wisdom. He did not repeat a question "Who am I?" because he was so upset by the smell of lilies and the neighbours' loud music He opened the window on what remained of a horizon and saw two cats playing with a puppy in the narrow street, and a dove building a nest in a chimney, and he said:" Hope is not the opposite of despair. Perhaps it is the faith that springs from divine indifference which has left us dependent on our own special talents to make sense of the fog surrounding us." He said: "Hope is neither something tangible nor an idea. It's a talent." He took a beta blocker, putting the question of hope aside, and for some obscure reason felt quite happy." Translated from A Talent for Hope.

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