I touch you as a lonely violin touches the suburbs of the faraway place patiently the river asks for its share of the drizzle and, bit by bit, a tomorrow passing in poems approaches so I carry faraway’s land and it carries me on travel’s road On a mare made of your virtues, my soul weaves a natural sky made of your shadows, one chrysalis at a time. I am the son of what you do in the earth, son of my wounds that have lit up the pomegranate blossoms in your closed-up gardens Out of jasmine the night’s blood streams white. Your perfume, my weakness and your secret, follows me like a snakebite. And your hair is a tent of wind autumn in color. I walk along with speech to the last of the words a bedouin told a pair of doves I palpate you as a violin palpates the silk of the faraway time and around me and you sprouts the grass of an ancient place—anew
From The Butterfly’s Burden (2007) by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Fady Joudah, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2007 by Mahmoud Darwish. Translation and preface copyright © 2007 by Fady Joudah. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.