Izzidin al- Manasra

At the entries to capital cities I met him,
distracted and sad,
a man with worry lines
that weighed him down
like a cypress tree, drooping and silent,
despite the winds that ruffled him
whispering in the evenings-
but he would not answer the wind.. At the gates of capital cities-I cannot name them
but I sing their Arabic names when troubles reign-
I call on the capitals when shells are slaughtering my people's
children. I call on them, I scream, but no one
They've all travelled west, and north. I wish
they'd gone east, I wish
they'd become stars in exile, servants to strangers.
At harvest time they sang under the pine trees
but none of the harvests was theirs..
it is for those hard hearted men
who owns the land of exile
Don't bury me in any Arab capital, they've all tortured me
for so long,
giving me nothing but death and suffering and poverty
and the martyred neighbors of my grave,
those new kinsmen, for every stranger is kinsman to the stranger.
No, don't bury me in any Arab capital
at the mercy of this ordeal! At the gate of the capitals I met him
his head forever bent,
immortal as the earth of Hebron,
proud as the mountains of Safad.
He was soft like old wine when it steeps inside the body. I would have tempted the stars
to accompany his beautiful departure, a star to guard him, and one lovely maiden
to tend him forever .


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