Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mahmoud Darwish 1942-2008

I didn't always agree with Darwish's philosophy and have sometimes quibbled about his craft. But his death is a too sudden loss. And i find myself recalling his charm, his insistence that conflict is absurd when all the possibilities for life--for love--exist.

From his 2002 poem A State of Siege: (You can hear Darwish read it here.)

[To a killer:] If you reflected upon the face
of the victim you slew, you would have remembered your mother in the room
full of gas. You would have freed yourself
of the bullet’s wisdom,
and changed your mind: ‘I will never find myself thus.’

[To another killer:] If you left the foetus thirty days
in its mother’s womb, things would have been different.
The occupation would be over and this suckling infant
would forget the time of the siege
and grow up a healthy child
reading at school, with one of your daughters
the ancient history of Asia.
They might even fall in love
and give birth to a daughter [she would be Jewish by birth].
What, then, have you done now?
Your daughter is now a widow
and your granddaughter an orphan.
What have you done with your scattered family?
And how have you slain three doves in one story?



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