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In Memoriam of Mahmoud Darwish

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the death of Mahmoud Darwish. For the occasion:

A Traveler
by Mahmoud Darwish
trans. by Sinan Antoon 

This road takes me; a horse guiding a horseman
A traveler like me cannot look back
I have walked far enough to know
where autumn beginsThere, behind the river,
the last pomegranates ripen
in an additional summer
and a beauty mark grows
in the seed of the apple
The road and I will sleep like partners
behind the river, beneath our shadows
Then rise at dawn and carry each other
I will ask it: Why so fast?
Slow down, O horse saddled with seasons!
No matter how few our dreams
we will cross the desert and valleys
to reach the end at the beginning
The beginning is behind us
Before us clouds bringing winter’s tidings
I have walked far enough to know
where winter starts:
There, over the hill
A gazelle looks for a fawn under the clouds
A hunter points his rifle
I will howl like a wolf
so the white gazelle can flee the fire
and the hunter is scared
The road and I will sleep
There, next to a cave, over the hill
Then rise at dawn and carry each other
Asking: What next? Where are you taking me?
I see the fog, but I don’t see the road
nor does it see me
Have I arrived? 
Or have I been separated from the road?
I asked myself, then said:
Now, from this distance,
a traveler like me
can look back!

Translated from the Arabic by Sinan Antoon. From Darwish’s posthumous collection, La Uridu Li-Hadhi ‘l-Qasidati An Tantahi (I Don’t Want this Poem to End)(Beirut: Riyad El-Rayyes Books, 2009)


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