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Poems of Resistance: 7 Poems for Palestine

Poems of Resistance: 7 Poems for Palestine

Salem Jubran: The Exile

The sun walks through the border
Guns keep silent
A skylark starts its morning song
In Tulkarem
And flies away to sup
With the birds of a Kibbutz
A lonely donkey strolls
Across the firing line
Unheeded by the watching squad
But for me, your ousted son, my native land,
Between your skies and my eyes,
A stretch of border walls
Blackens the view!


Tawfiq Zayyad: The Impossible

It is much easier for you
To push an elephant through a needle’s eye,
Catch fried fish in galaxy,
Blow out the sun,
Imprison the wind,
Or make a crocodile speak,
Than to destroy by persecution
The shimmering glow of a belief
Or check our march
Towards our cause
One single step…


Fadwa Tuqan: Ever Alive

My beloved homeland
No matter how long the millstone
Of pain and agony churns you
In the wilderness of tyranny,
They will never be able
To pluck your eyes
Or kill your hopes and dreams
Or crucify your will to rise
Or steel the smiles of our children
Or destroy and burn,
Because out from our deep sorrows,
Out from the freshness of our spilled blood
Out from the quivering of life and death
Life will be reborn in you again………

Sameeh Al Qassem: I may lose my daily bread

I may lose my daily bread, if you wish
I may hawk my clothes and bed
I may become a stonecutter, or a porter
Or a street sweeper
I may search in animal dung for food
I may collapse, naked and starved
Enemy of light
I will not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight.
You may rob me of the last span of my land
You may ditch my youth in prison holes
Steel what my grandfather left me behind:
Some furniture or clothes and jars,
You may burn my poems and books
You may feed your dog on my flesh
You may impose a nightmare of your terror
On my village
Enemy of light
I shall not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight.

Enemy of light
The signs of joy and the tidings
Shouts of happiness and anthems

Are there at the port
And at the horizon
A sail is defying the wind and the deep sees
Overcoming all the challenges
It is the return of Ulysses
From the lost sees
It is the return of the sun
And the return of the ousted
And for their sake
I swear
I shall not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight!


Mahmoud Darwish: I Come From There

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.

I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known

To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland...


Mahmoud Darwish: Psalm Three

On the day when my words
were earth...
I was a friend to stalks of wheat.

On the day when my words
were wrath
I was a friend to chains.

On the day when my words
were stones
I was a friend to streams.

On the day when my words
were a rebellion
I was a friend to earthquakes.

On the day when my words
were bitter apples
I was a friend to the optimist.

But when my words became
honey...
flies covered
my lips!


Mahmoud Darwish: A State of Siege - Fragments

Here, on the slopes of hills,
watching sunsets,
facing the cannons of time,
here by orchards with severed shadows,
we do what prisoners
what the unemployed do:
we nurse hope.

This siege will last until we teach our enemy
selections of pre-Islamic poetry.

Pain is:
when the housewife doesn't set up the clothesline
in the morning and preoccupies herself with the cleanness of the flag.

The soldiers gauge the distance between being and nothingness
with a tank's telescope.

We gauge the distance between our bodies and shells
with the sixth sense.

You who stand on our doorstep, come in
and drink with us Arabic coffee
[you might feel you are humans like us].
You who stand on our doorstep
get out of our mornings
so we can be certain
we are humans like you.

Behind the soldiers,
the pine trees and minarets
keep the sky from arching downward.
Behind the iron fence soldiers pee--
guarded by tanks--
and this autumn day keeps up its golden stroll
in a street wide as a church after Sunday prayer.

A humorous writer once said to me:
"If I knew the end, from the beginning,
I would have no business with words."

The siege will last until those who lay the siege feel,
like the besieged, that boredom is a human attribute.

To resist means to maintain the soundness
of the heart and testicles and your interminable disease:
hope.

Writing is a puppy biting the void;
it wounds without blood.

Our coffee cups, the birds
and green trees with blue shade,
and sun leaping from wall
toward another wall, like a gazelle,
and water in clouds of endless forms
spread across whatever ration of sky is left for us,
and things whose remembrance is deferred
and this morning, strong and luminous—
all beckon we are guests of eternity.

Our Poets

For as long as the Palestinians have endured occupation and oppression—first under the British in the 1920-30s, then by the Israeli state after 1948—they have produced writers and poets who have articulated not only humiliation and despair, but also resistance and the hope of liberation.

Israel’s most famous military commander of the 20th century, the notorious Moshe Dayan, once said of the great Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan that one of her poems was enough to create ten Palestinian resistance fighters.

The dissident Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has written, “What political activists did not dare express, poets sang out with force…”

ENDS

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