Tuesday Poem: 'I sing because I sing', Mahmoud Darwish and Yehuda Amichai
This week I'm posting a powerful poem by one of the great Palestinian poets, the voice of exile, Mahmoud Darwish, and another by one of the greatest Israeli poets, Yehuda Amichai, writing about the loneliness of exile and the need for homeland.
A dull evening in a run-down village
Eyes half asleep
I recall thirty years
And five wars
I swear the future keeps
My ear of corn
And the singer croons
About a fire and some strangers
And the evening is just another evening
And the singer croons
And they asked him:
Why do you sing?
And he answered:
I sing because I sing . . .
And they searched his chest
But could only find his heart
And they searched his heart
But could only find his people
And they searched his voice
But could only find his grief
And they searched his grief
But could only find his prison
And they searched his prison
But could only see themselves in chains.
© Mahmoud Darwish
Half the People in the World
Half the people in the world love the
other half, half the people hate the
other half . Must I, because of those
and the others, go and wander and
endlessly change, like rain in its cycle,
and sleep among rocks, and be rugged
like the trunks of olive trees, and hear
the moon bark at me and camouflage
my love with worries, and grow like the
timorous grass in between railway
tracks, and live in the ground like a
mole, and be with roots and not with
branches, and not rest my cheek upon
the cheeks of angels, and make love in
the first cave, and marry my wife under
the canopy of beams which support the
earth, and act out my death, always to
the last breath and the last words,
without ever understanding, and put
flagpoles on top of my house and a
shelter at the bottom. And set forth on
the roads made only for returning, and
go through all the terrifying stations -
cat, stick, fire, water, butcher, - between
the kid and the angel of death?
© Yehuda Amichai
‘Id-the identity of the soul’. He died from heart failure in 2008.
If you would like to see what other Tuesday Poets are posting around the world then please hop over to the Tuesday Poem hub and take a look.