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DARWISH, Mahmoud

Identity Card

Write down !

I am an Arab

And my identity card number is fifty thousand

I have eight children

And the ninth will come after a summer

Will you be angry?

Write down!

I am an Arab

Employed with fellow workers at a quarry

I have eight children

I get them bread

Garments and books

from the rocks..

I do not supplicate charity at your doors

Nor do I belittle myself at the footsteps of your chamber

So will you be angry?

Write down!

I am an Arab

I have a name without a title

Patient in a country

Where people are enraged

My roots

Were entrenched before the birth of time

And before the opening of the eras

Before the pines, and the olive trees

And before the grass grew.

My father.. descends from the family of the plow

Not from a privileged class

And my grandfather..was a farmer

Neither well-bred, nor well-born!

Teaches me the pride of the sun

Before teaching me how to read

And my house is like a watchman's hut

Made of branches and cane

Are you satisfied with my status?

I have a name without a title!

Write down!

I am an Arab

You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors

And the land which I cultivated

Along with my children

And you left nothing for us

Except for these rocks..

So will the State take them

As it has been said?!


Write down on the top of the first page:

I do not hate poeple

Nor do I encroach

But if I become hungry

The usurper's flesh will be my food



Of my hunger

And my anger!

No More And No Less

I am a woman. No more and no less

I live my life as it is

thread by thread

and I spin my wool to wear, not

to complete Homer's story, or his sun.

And I see what I see

as it is, in its shape,

though I stare every once

in a while in its shade

o sense the pulse of defeat,

and I write tomorrow

on yesterday's sheets: there's no sound

other than echo.

love the necessary vagueness in

what a night traveler says to the absence

of birds over the slopes of speech

and above the roofs of villages

I am a woman, no more and no less

The almond blossom sends me flying

in March, from my balcony,

in longing for what the faraway says:

"Touch me and I'll bring my horses to the water springs."

I cry for no clear reason, and I love you

as you are, not as a strut

nor in vain

and from my shoulders a morning rises onto you

and falls into you, when I embrace you, a night.

But I am neither one nor the other

no, I am not a sun or a moon

I am a woman, no more and no less

So be the Qyss of longing,

if you wish. As for me

I like to be loved as I am

not as a color photo

in the paper, or as an idea

composed in a poem amid the stags …

I hear Laila's faraway scream

from the bedroom: Do not leave me

a prisoner of rhyme in the tribal nights

do not leave me to them as news …

I am a woman, no more and no less

I am who I am, as

you are who you are: you live in me

and I live in you, to and for you

I love the necessary clarity of our mutual puzzle

I am yours when I overflow the night

but I am not a land

or a journey

I am a woman, no more and no less

And I tire

from the moon's feminine cycle

and my guitar falls ill


by string

I am a woman,

no more

and no less!

Wait for her

With a glass inlaid with gemstones

On a pool around the evening

Among the perfumed roses

Wait for her

With the patience of a packhorse

Loaded for the mountains

Like a stoic, noble prince

Wait for her

With seven pillows laid out on the stair

The scent of womens' incense fills the air

Be calm, and wait for her

And do not flush the sparrows

That are nesting in her braids

All along the barricades

Wait for her

And if she comes soon

Wait for her

And if she comes late


Let her be still as a summer afternoon

A garden in full bloom

Let her breathe in the air

That is foreign to her heart

Let her lips part

Wait for her

Take her to the balcony, see the moon soaked in milk

Hear the rustle of her silk

Wait for her

Don't let your eyes alight upon the twin doves of her breast

Lest they take flight

Wait for her

And if she comes soon

Wait for her

And if she comes late


Serve her water before wine

Do not touch her hand

Let your fingertips rest as her command

Speak softly as a flute would to a fearful violin

Breathe out, breathe in

And as the echo fades from that final fusillade

Remember the promises you made

Oh my father, I am Yusuf

Oh my father, I am Yusuf

Oh father, my brothers neither love me nor want me in their midst ,

They assault me and cast stones and words at me

They want me to die so they can eulogize me

They closed the door of your house and left me outside

They expelled me from the field

Oh my father, they poisoned my grapes

They destroyed my toys

When the gentle wind played with my hair, they were jealous

They flamed up with rage against me and you

What did I deprive them of, Oh my father?

The butterflies stopped on my shoulder

The bird hovered over my hand

What have I done, Oh my father?

Why me?

You named me Yusuf and they threw me into the well

They accused the wolf

The wolf is more merciful than my brothers

Oh, my father. Did I wrong anyone when I said that

I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon

Saw them kneeling before me