Friday, September 11, 2009

"The more we know the louder we lament"

There is no better poet of social injustice than Mahmoud Darwish. Darwish is "the" poet of exile and alienation. Darwish, who died last year, was acknowledged as the national poet of Palestine and one the most acclaimed poets of the Arab world.

Darwish was born in Gallilee in Palestine and fled Palestine in 1948 with his family after the Israeli Army destroyed his village. He spent 25 years in exile from his native Palestine.

As a poet Darwish is able to give expression to ordinary people's thoughts, longing and desires. He writes of of the string of tragedies, political and humanitarian, that have continued to afflict the Palestinian people, and the feelings they have for their occupied homeland. His poems speak not only of the sorrows of dispossession and exile, but of the experiences of daily life- reality, myth, love, lust and longing that all humans know.

From the book of poetry Unfortunately it Was Paradise
"I grew old, tired of glory, all my wants satisfied.
Is this why the more I know the louder I lament?

" I find myself present in the fullness of absence
Every time I seek myself I find others
When I look for them I see only my own strange self
Am I an individual teeming with crowds?"

"Insight is light. It leads either to nothingness or madness"

"I will slog over this endless road to its end.
Until my heart stops, I will slog over this endless, endless road
with nothing to lose but the dust, what has died in me, and a row of palms
pointing towards what vanishes. I will pass the row of palms."
From the book of poetry State of Siege
" Here, by the down slope of hills, facing the sunset and time's muzzle
near gardens with severed shadows
we do what the prisoners do,
and what the unemployed do:
we nurture hope"
"(To a killer) If you'd contemplated the victim's face
and thought,
you would have remembered your mother in the gas chamber,
you would have liberated yourself from the rifle's wisdom and changed your mind; this isn't how identity is reclaimed"

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