Strangers' Walk

written by Mahmoud Darwish

Strangers' Walk

— Mahmoud Darwish

I know the house from the bunch of sage. The first of the
windows leans toward the butterflies...blue...
red. I know the clouds' handwriting and the well where
it will wait fro the village women in summer. I know
what the dove says when it lays an egg on the mouth of
a gun. I know who opens the door to the jasmine
as it opens our dreams to the evening guest...
The strangers' carriage still hasn't arrived
No one's arrived. Leave me there like
you'd leave your greeting at the entrance of a house. To me or
to someone else, without concern for who'll hear it
first. Leave me, there, a few words for myself:
Was I alone? 'Solitary, like the soul in
a body,' when you said, once: I love you both,
you and the water. The water shone in everything,
like a guitar that let itself cry!
The stangers' guitar still hasn't arrived
Let's be good! Take me to the sea at
sunset, so I'll hear what it tells you
when it returns to itself, still, still
I won't change. I'll slip into a wave
and say: Take me to the sea again. This is what
the frightened do with themselves: They go to
the sea when a star, aflame in the sky, torments them
The stangers' song still hasn't arrived
I know the hosue from the fluttering scarves. The first of the
doves cries on my shoulders. Beneath the sky
of the Gospels a child runs aimlessly. Water
runs. The pines run. The wind runs in
the wind. The earth runs in itself. I said:
Don't bein a rush when you leave the house. Nothing
prevents this place from pausing fro a moment,
here, while you put on the day's shirt and
the shoes of the wind
The strangers' myth still hasn't arrived...
No one's arrived. So leave me there like
you leave the myth with whomever sees you, and he cries,
and runs in himself afraid of his happiness:
I love you so, you are so much yourself! Afraid of
his soul: There is no 'I' now, but 'she' in me
There is no 'she' but my fragile 'I'.
At the end of this song, how much I fear that my dream
may not see its dream in her.
No one's arrived
Perhaps the stangers lost thier way
to the stangers' walk!

Translated By Amira El-Zein and Jeffrey Sacks

About the poet


Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: محمود درويش‎) (13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author who won numerous awards for his literary output and was regarded as the Palestinian national poet. In his work, Palestine became a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He has been described as incarnating and reflecting "the tradition of the political poet in Islam, the man of action whose action is poetry". Mahmoud Darwish was born in the village of al-Birwa in the Western Galilee. He was the second child of Salim and Houreyyah Darwish. His family were landowners. His mother was illiterate, but his grandfather taught him to read. After Israeli forces assaulted his village of al-Birwa in...

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