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Mourid Barghouti, from Midnight and Other Poems

from 'Midnight' Part I

The scene is choked with smoke.
Bodies coloured with fiery red,
sudden stains upon the windows of the ambulance.
Your friend will never go anywhere,
his family, far away,
have not yet heard the news.
Their minds are not at peace;
from now on, most probably,
they will never be.

And the image will never leave you:
a boy and a girl,
strangers to the language of the marketplace,
runaways from antiquated kinships.

Here are the wings,
here is the clamour of their breaking free
as they take flight towards their celestial passion.

Here is the animal of delight,
here is the unfolding of its splendour.


Oh, Eternal runner,
running to it,
how much further must you run?

Whenever you near the finishing line
they push it back,
creating distance between it and your tears of victory.

As though you have been made from weariness.
As though you have been made for weariness.
From the doorstep of the sun
to the balcony of the moon,

you stay wide awake, when all others go to sleep,
afraid that the stars will fall
without your hands to nail them
to the ceiling of the night.

The weary sun's rays settle sugar in grapes,
crimson in cherries,
honey in figs
and olive oil in jars.

War itself,
leaning on its cane,
strolls occasionally
down the corridor of peace.


But you, my friend,
had you been carved of marble,
we would have seen the drops of sweat
upon your brow.

You hear the sobbing of your body,
I mean the song of your soul.