A long time will pass for our present to become a past like us.
But first, we will march to our doom, we will defend the trees we wear
and defend the bell of the night, and a moon we desire over our huts.
We will defend the imprudence of our gazelles, the clay of our pots
And our feathers in the wings of the final songs. In a little while
you will erect your world upon our world: from our cemeteries
you will open the road to the satellite moon. This is the age of industry. This
is the age of minerals, and put of coal the champagne of the strong will dawn …
There are dead and settlements, dead and bulldozers, dead
and hospitals, dead and radar screens that capture the dead
who die more than once in life, screens that capture the dead
who live after death, and the dead who breed the beast of civilization as death,
and the dead who die to carry the earth after the relics …
Where, master of white ones, do you take my people … and your people?
To what abyss does this robot loaded with planes and plane carriers
take the earth, to what spacious abyss do you ascend?
You have what you desire: the new Rome, the Sparta of technology
and the ideology
but as for us, we will escape from an age we haven’t yet prepared our anxieties for.
We will move to the land of birds as a flock of previous humans
and look upon our land through its pebbles, through holes in the clouds,
look upon our land through the speech of stars
and through the air of the lakes, through the fragile corn fuzz
and the tomb’s flower, through poplar leaves, through everything
that besieges you, white ones, we will look, as dying dead, as dead
who live, dead who return, who disclose the secrets,
so grant the earth respite until it tells the truth, all the truth,
and us …
Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) was a renowned Palestinian national poet.
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