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Under Siege Analysis

Author: Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish Type: Poetry Views: 503

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Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of timeClose to the gardens of broken shadows,We do what prisoners do,And what the jobless do:We cultivate hope.***A country preparing for dawn. We grow less intelligentFor we closely watch the hour of victory:No night in our night lit up by the shellingOur enemies are watchful and light the light for usIn the darkness of cellars.***Here there is no "I".Here Adam remembers the dust of his clay.***On the verge of death, he says:I have no trace left to lose:

Free I am so close to my liberty. My future lies in my own hand.Soon I shall penetrate my life,I shall be born free and parentless,And as my name I shall choose azure letters...***You who stand in the doorway, come in,Drink Arabic coffee with usAnd you will sense that you are men like usYou who stand in the doorways of housesCome out of our morningtimes,We shall feel reassured to beMen like you!***When the planes disappear, the white, white dovesFly off and wash the cheeks of heavenWith unbound wings taking radiance back again, taking possessionOf the ether and of play. Higher, higher still, the white, white dovesFly off. Ah, if only the skyWere real [a man passing between two bombs said to me].***Cypresses behind the soldiers, minarets protectingThe sky from collapse. Behind the hedge of steelSoldiers piss—under the watchful eye of a tank—And the autumnal day ends its golden wandering inA street as wide as a church after Sunday mass...***[To a killer] If you had contemplated the victim’s faceAnd thought it through, you would have remembered your mother in theGas chamber, you would have been freed from the reason for the rifleAnd you would have changed your mind: this is not the wayto find one’s identity again.***The siege is a waiting periodWaiting on the tilted ladder in the middle of the storm.***Alone, we are alone as far down as the sedimentWere it not for the visits of the rainbows.***We have brothers behind this expanse.Excellent brothers. They love us. They watch us and weep.Then, in secret, they tell each other:"Ah! if this siege had been declared..." They do not finish their sentence:"Don’t abandon us, don’t leave us."***Our losses: between two and eight martyrs each day.And ten wounded.And twenty homes.And fifty olive trees...Added to this the structural flaw thatWill arrive at the poem, the play, and the unfinished canvas.***A woman told the cloud: cover my belovedFor my clothing is drenched with his blood.***If you are not rain, my loveBe treeSated with fertility, be treeIf you are not tree, my loveBe stoneSaturated with humidity, be stoneIf you are not stone, my loveBe moonIn the dream of the beloved woman, be moon[So spoke a womanto her son at his funeral]***Oh watchmen! Are you not wearyOf lying in wait for the light in our saltAnd of the incandescence of the rose in our woundAre you not weary, oh watchmen?***A little of this absolute and blue infinityWould be enoughTo lighten the burden of these timesAnd to cleanse the mire of this place.***It is up to the soul to come down from its mountAnd on its silken feet walkBy my side, hand in hand, like two longtimeFriends who share the ancient breadAnd the antique glass of wineMay we walk this road togetherAnd then our days will take different directions:I, beyond nature, which in turnWill choose to squat on a high-up rock.***On my rubble the shadow grows green,And the wolf is dozing on the skin of my goatHe dreams as I do, as the angel doesThat life is here...not over there.***In the state of siege, time becomes spaceTransfixed in its eternityIn the state of siege, space becomes timeThat has missed its yesterday and its tomorrow.***The martyr encircles me every time I live a new dayAnd questions me: Where were you? Take every wordYou have given me back to the dictionariesAnd relieve the sleepers from the echo’s buzz.***The martyr enlightens me: beyond the expanseI did not lookFor the virgins of immortality for I love lifeOn earth, amid fig trees and pines,But I cannot reach it, and then, too, I took aim at itWith my last possession: the blood in the body of azure.***The martyr warned me: Do not believe their ululationsBelieve my father when, weeping, he looks at my photographHow did we trade roles, my son, how did you precede me.I first, I the first one!***The martyr encircles me: my place and my crude furniture are all that I have changed.I put a gazelle on my bed,And a crescent of moon on my fingerTo appease my sorrow.***The siege will last in order to convince us we must choose an enslavement that does no harm, in fullest liberty!***Resisting means assuring oneself of the heart’s health,The health of the testicles and of your tenacious disease:The disease of hope.***And in what remains of the dawn, I walk toward my exteriorAnd in what remains of the night, I hear the sound of footsteps inside me.***Greetings to the one who shares with me an attention toThe drunkenness of light, the light of the butterfly, in theBlackness of this tunnel!***Greetings to the one who shares my glass with meIn the denseness of a night outflanking the two spaces:Greetings to my apparition.***My friends are always preparing a farewell feast for me,A soothing grave in the shade of oak treesA marble epitaph of timeAnd always I anticipate them at the funeral:Who then has died...who?***Writing is a puppy biting nothingnessWriting wounds without a trace of blood.***Our cups of coffee. Birds green treesIn the blue shade, the sun gambols from one wallTo another like a gazelleThe water in the clouds has the unlimited shape of what is left to usOf the sky. And other things of suspended memoriesReveal that this morning is powerful and splendid,And that we are the guests of eternity.


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