In Egypt, One Hour Isn'T Like Any Other

written by Mahmoud Darwish

In Egypt, One Hour Isn'T Like Any Other

— Mahmoud Darwish

In Egypt, one hour isn't like any other…
each moment is a memory renewed by a bird
of the Nile. I was there. The human creature
there invented the Sun-God. No one calls himself
by name: 'I'm a son of the Nile, that's name enough
for me.' From your first moment, you call yourself
'son of the Nile' to avoid the heaviness of the abyss.
There, the living and the dead pick clouds of cotton
from the land of Upper Egypt and plant wheat
in the Delta. Standing between the living
and the dead, two guards take turns watching over
the palms. Everything romantic is within you,
you walk on the edge of your soul in time's labyrinth,
as if before you were born Mother Egypt
had given birth to you first, as a lotus flower.
Do you know yourself now? Egypt sits with itself
in stealth: 'Nothing is like me.' And mends
the battered coat of eternity with a wind blowing
from any direction. I was there. The human creature
was writing the wisdom of Death-Life. Everything is
romantic, moonlit…except for the poem
as it turns around to look for tomorrow, thinking
of immortality but speaking only of its frailty
before of the Nile…

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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