On Mahmoud Darwish’s Birthday, a New Translation of ‘Dying for Free’


On the anniversary of the birth of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, a new translation by Naser Albreeky:

‘Dying for Free’

Mahmoud Darwish

Translated by Naser Albreeky

Autumn passing through my flesh as a funeral of oranges..

coppery moon crumpled by minerals and sand

children falling in my heart upon the souls of men

all the pain is my share..not everything is being told…

and the arms of spilled blood call to me: come!

raise your neck to a sun made compassionate through blood

do not bury your dead! .. leave them as pillars of light

leave my spilled blood.. as a warning to the oppressors

let it lead them to the night

turn my blood into the green mountain’s match on the chest of the space

don’t ask poets to write eulogies for the kids of the orchard

the honor of childhood

lies in how it risks the safety of the tribe

I bless them with the glory that suckles blood and vice

I congratulate the executioner winning against the kohl-­rimmed eyes

so that he can borrow his winter coat from her braid

cheers to the opener/conqueror of the village

cheers to the slaughterer of children

O Kafr qāsim! .. the tombstones are gripped hands

tightening to the depths my roots

the roots of orphans struggling to extend their arms

yet we are remaining.. you noble hand, teach us how to orchestrate

we remain like the light, and the words, not twisted by shackles or pain

O Kafr qās!

the tombstones are gripped hands..!

Naser Albreeky is a freelance writer and translator based in New York City

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