Sunday, May 10, 2015

To My Mother

To My Mother
by Mahmoud Darwish
I long for my mother’s bread
My mother’s coffee
Her touch
Childhood memories grow up in me
Day after day
I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother.

And if I come back one day
Take me as a veil to your eyelashes
Cover my bones with the grass
Blessed by your footsteps
Bind us together
With a lock of your hair
With a thread that trails from the back of your dress
I might become immortal
Become a God
If I touch the depths of your heart.

If I come back
Use me as wood to feed your fire
As the clothesline on the roof of your house
Without your blessing
I am too weak to stand.
I am old
Give me back the star maps of childhood
So that I
Along with the swallows
Can chart the path
Back to your waiting nest

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers who drive this world burning the fuel of love.
The above one is an utterly beautiful and heart wrenching poem written by the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish who died in 2008. His transition was mourned widely in the Arab world.
Darwish was the first Palestinian to receive a state funeral since Yasser Arafat in 2004. “He was the master of the word and wisdom, the symbol who expressed our national feeling, our human constitution, our declaration of independence,” said President Mahmoud Abbas in the funeral speech. His fellow Palestinians embraced his poetry as the voice of their suffering.
Darwish famously penned Arafat’s speech to the United Nations in 1974 when the late Palestinian leader said, “I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”
The above poem has been set to music by many singers and has almost become a national anthem of Palestine.
“I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother”
That’s what most of us strive to achieve in a deeply subconscious way.
The last stanza (‘give me back the star maps of childhood’) conveys an intense yearning to return to mother's lap and childhood.
The above poem can be interpreted as symbolic address to the homeland also, speaking to a woman but at the same time , in a symbolic subcontext, referring to Palestine, imagined not only as the beloved, but also as the mother to whom all Palestinians want to return.
(Painting : Mother and Child by Picasso)

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