Mahmoud Darwish
Translated from Arabic by A.Z.F.

They did not recognize me in the shadows
That suck my color out of the passport.
To them, the wound in me was a tourist-trap
For amateur photographers.
They did not recognize me. No . . . don't leave
My hand with a sunless palm,
For the trees and songs of rain
Do recognize me.
Do not leave me pale like the moon!

All the birds that followed my palm
To the doors of the distant airport
All the wheatfields
All the prisons
All the white tombs
All the borders
All the waved handkerchiefs
All the eyes
Were with me,
But barred from my passport.

Stripped of my name and what I am?
On soil I worked with my own hands?

Today Job's cry filled the sky:
Don't make an example of me again!
Dear gentlemen, dear prophets,
Ask no tree its name,
Ask no valley about its mother.
The sword is blazing from my brow,
The river gushes from my hand...
My nation is the hearts of men.
So take my passport, if you like.


Source. About the poet. Illustration.


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