Sunday 27 January 2008

Mahmoud Darwish: As the Land is the Language

My Mother

I long for my mother's bread

My mother's coffee

Her touch

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


  1. bello poema, herida que se abre cuando la vieja está tan lejos.

    saludos cuban,

  2. Gracias, asere, el poema me llega como emigrante que soy y lo es el, tambien, aunque en su caso la situacion sea distinta. Voy a seguir poniendo poemas suyos en el blog porque tengo que promover el documental cuyos datos aparecen en la pagina.

    Gracias por tus comentarios.

    Saludos desde Londres



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