I long for my mother's bread
My mother's coffee
Childhood memories grow up in me
Day after day
I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother.
And if I come back one day
Take me as a veil to your eyelashes
Cover my bones with the grass
Blessed by your footsteps
Bind us together
With a lock of your hair
With a thread that trails from the back of your dress
I might become immortal
Become a God
If I touch the depths of your heart.
If I come back
Use me as wood to feed your fire
As the clothesline on the roof of your house
Without your blessing
I am too weak to stand.
I am old
Give me back the star maps of childhood
So that I
Along with the swallows
Can chart the path
Back to your waiting nest.
Has a voice ever taken over yours turning your thoughts into their lines, uttering the similes and metaphores with which to describe a person you love? Have you ever felt so completely mesmerised at the beauty of a poem and yet embarrassed that it was not your pen that glided over the paper on which it was written?
It was the line 'And if I come back one day/Take me as a veil to your eyelashes' that tore me apart exposing my beating heart for all to see. Who would not want to be there to look after that who looked after us when that malicious fever took hold of our body rendering us incapable of even lifting one hand all those years ago? Who would not be willing to sever their right arm to save the life of that who gave us ours?
Thanks, Mahmoud, for giving my voice a poem.
Mahmud Darwish: As the Land is the Language. Dir: Simone Bitton & Elias Sanbar. 60 mins, Israel/France 1998. Documentary on the famous Palestinian poet, his life and works. Q&A after the screening with a panel of specialists.
The ArtsZone, 54 - 56 Market Square, London, N9 0TZ
Wednesday 27th February. This film is part of "Women's Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran" festival.
7pm (doors will open at 6.30pm)
Box office number 020 8 887 9500
Admission: £5/£4 concs (OAPs, students, people on benefits and disabled people, proof of ID required).
Early Bird Discount: Book before Wednesday 13th February and pay only £3
For more info click here