“Guests of Evermore”

From the poem “State of Siege”:

The deceased, daughter of
the deceased, who is herself daughter of the deceased, who is the deceased’s sister
The deceased resister’s sister is related by marriage to the mother of the deceased, who is grandaughter of the deceased’s grandfather
and neighbour to the deceased’s uncle (etc. ..etc.)
No news worries the developed world, 
for the time of barbarism has passed
and the victim is Joe Bloggs. Nobody knows his name, 
and the tragedy, like the truth, is relative (etc. ..etc.)

Quiet, quiet, for the soldiers need
at this hour to listen to the songs
which the dead resisters had listened to, and have remained
like the smell of coffee, in their blood, fresh

Truce, truce. A time to test the teachings: can helicopters be turned into ploughshares?
We said to them: truce, truce, to examine intentions. 
The flavour of peace may be absorbed by the soul.
Then we may compete for the love of life using poetic images. 
They replied, “Don’t you know that peace begins with oneself, 
if you wish to open the door to our citadel of truth?
So we said, “And then?”

Writing is a small ant which bites extinction. 
Writing is a bloodless wound. 

Our cups of coffee, and the birds, and the green trees
with the blue shade, and the sun leaping from wall
to wall like a doe
and the waters in the skies of infinite shapes, in what is left to us
of sky…and other matters the memory of which has been put on hold
prove that this morning is strong and beautiful 
and that we are guests of evermore

Mahmoud Darwish

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