Unpublished poem: A Sky for a Sea

Unpublished poem: A Sky for a Sea

Mahmoud Darwish

Translated to English by Fady Joudah


A sky for a sea. A sky for the butterfly’s daughter
to sketch for herself a mother. A sky for a chair
to make amends with myself even if the jasmine comes late.
I make amends with Sunday, undress the river,
carry it down from your hands, and learn how radiance
becomes a body. I will carry my arm for you and seat
this beautiful air on your hands as a boy. A sky
for a sea, a sea for a garden’s fence.
This morning is a bed for my wedding.
The pigeons alight on the soldier’s badge.
A girl flees her love to a bit of sun. I love you
on this morning like I’ve never loved you before.
I scoop the spume off the jasmine wave.
Is there anything on this earth other than peace?
Is there anything inside people other than joy?
I make amends with myself and all the nations enter
the eulogies of my wine, and the olives of my bow.
Do silver birds die on such a morning? Does anyone die?
• Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), a Palestinian, and perhaps the preeminent poet of the Arabic language. He received numerous international awards. His most recent books in English, translated by Fady Joudah, were The Butterfly’s Burden (2007) and If I Were Another (2009).

Posted: April 21, 2012 at 12:49 am

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