Some Mahmoud Darwish

The Passport

They didn’t recognize me.
The passport’s darkness
Erased the tones of my photograph.
They put my wound on show
For tourists who love collecting pictures.
They didn’t recognize me.
Don’t let my hand lose sunlight
For in its rays trees recognize me.
All the rain songs recognize me.
Don’t leave me pale as the moon.
All the birds followed
My hand to the barriers of a distant airport.
All the wheat fields
All the prisons
All the white graves
All the borders
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the dark eyes
All the eyes
Were with me
But they crossed them out of the passport.
Deprived of a name, of an identity,
In a land I tended with both hands?
Today Job’s voice rang throughout heaven:
Don’t test me again!
Venerable prophets,
Don’t ask the trees their names,
Don’t ask the valleys about their mother.
My face brandishes a sword of light
And my hand is the river’s spring.
The hearts of people are my nationality.
Take away my passport.

(Modern Poetry of the Arab World, translated by Abdullah al-Udhari)

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