Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Remembering Mahmoud Darwish

Palestine's Mahmoud Darwish, who just passed away, was called the greatest contemporary poet of the Arab world. It was not uncommon for 25,000 people to show up at one of his readings. Damn, we'd KILL for those kind of numbers! You can read more about him here. If we are to understand anything about life and mystery in the middle east, we must turn to the poets. So what can Mahmoud Darwish teach us? Here is his poem "Rita and the Rifle." What does it say to you about life and experience in that part of the world?

Rita And The Rifle
Between Rita and my eyes
There is a rifle
And whoever knows Rita
Kneels and plays
To the divinity in those honey-colored eyes
And I kissed Rita
When she was young
And I remember how she approached
And how my arm covered the loveliest of braids
And I remember Rita
The way a sparrow remembers its stream
Ah, Rita
Between us there are a million sparrows and images
And many a rendezvous
Fired at by a rifle

Rita's name was a feast in my mouth
Rita's body was a wedding in my blood
And I was lost in Rita for two years
And for two years she slept on my arm
And we made promises
Over the most beautiful of cups
And we burned in the wine of our lips
And we were born again

Ah, Rita!
What before this rifle could have turned my eyes from yours
Except a nap or two or honey-colored clouds?
Once upon a time
Oh, the silence of dusk
In the morning my moon migrated to a far place
Towards those honey-colored eyes
And the city swept away all the singers
And Rita

Between Rita and my eyes—
A rifle


Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Thank you, Markk!

michael salinger said...

What I find astounding is how much he looks like Sam and or Ted Raimi.

The detroit brother duo who hatched the Evil Dead movie series and subsequently the Spiderman franchise - but hey a guy's got to eat.

That's Xena warrior princess between them.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau