I Belong There

written by Mahmoud Darwish

I Belong There

— Mahmoud Darwish

I didn't apologize to the well when I passed the well,
I borrowed from the ancient pine tree a cloud
and squeezed it like an orange, then waited for a gazelle
white and legendary. And I ordered my heart to be patient:
Be neutral as if you were not of me! Right here
the kind shepherds stood on air and evolved
their flutes, then persuaded the mountain quail toward
the snare. And right here I saddled a horse for flying toward
my planets, then flew. And right here the priestess
told me: Beware of the asphalt road and the cars
and walk upon your exhalation. Right here
I slackened my shadow and waited, I picked the tiniest
rock and stayed up late. I broke the myth and I broke.
And I circled the well until I flew from myself
to what isn't of it. A deep voice shouted at me:
This grave isn't your grave. So I apologized.
I read verses from the wise holy book, and said
to the unknown one in the well: Salaam upon you the day
you were killed in the land of peace, and the day you rise
from the darkness of the well alive!

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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