In Jerusalem…

Mahmoud Darwish

In Jerusalem

TRANSLATED BY FADY JOUDAH
In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy … ascending to heaven
and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love
and peace are holy and are coming to town.
I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How
do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?
Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?
I walk in my sleep. I stare in my sleep. I see
no one behind me. I see no one ahead of me.
All this light is for me. I walk. I become lighter. I fly
then I become another. Transfigured. Words
sprout like grass from Isaiah’s messenger
mouth: “If you don’t believe you won’t be safe.”
I walk as if I were another. And my wound a white
biblical rose. And my hands like two doves
on the cross hovering and carrying the earth.
I don’t walk, I fly, I become another,
transfigured. No place and no time. So who am I?
I am no I in ascension’s presence. But I
think to myself: Alone, the prophet Muhammad
spoke classical Arabic. “And then what?”
Then what? A woman soldier shouted:
Is that you again? Didn’t I kill you?
I said: You killed me … and I forgot, like you, to die.
From : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52551/in-jerusalem
Original:

في القدس، أَعني داخلَ السُّور القديمِ،
أَسيرُ من زَمَنٍ إلى زَمَنٍ بلا ذكرى
تُصوِّبُني. فإن الأنبياءَ هناك يقتسمون
تاريخَ المقدَّس… يصعدون إلى السماء
ويرجعون أَقلَّ إحباطاً وحزناً، فالمحبَّةُ
والسلام مُقَدَّسَان وقادمان إلى المدينة.
كنت أَمشي فوق مُنْحَدَرٍ وأَهْجِسُ: كيف
يختلف الرُّواةُ على كلام الضوء في حَجَرٍ؟
أَمِنْ حَجَر ٍشحيحِ الضوء تندلعُ الحروبُ؟
أسير في نومي. أَحملق في منامي. لا
أرى أحداً ورائي. لا أرى أَحداً أمامي.
كُلُّ هذا الضوءِ لي. أَمشي. أخفُّ. أطيرُ
ثم أَصير غيري في التَّجَلِّي. تنبُتُ
الكلماتُ كالأعشاب من فم أشعيا
النِّبَويِّ: ((إنْ لم تُؤْمنوا لن تَأْمَنُوا)).
أَمشي كأنِّي واحدٌ غيْري. وجُرْحي وَرْدَةٌ
بيضاءُ إنجيليَّةٌ. ويدايَ مثل حمامتَيْنِ
على الصليب تُحلِّقان وتحملان الأرضَ.
لا أمشي، أَطيرُ، أَصيرُ غَيْري في
التجلِّي. لا مكانَ و لا زمان . فمن أَنا؟
أَنا لا أنا في حضرة المعراج. لكنِّي
أُفكِّرُ: وَحْدَهُ، كان النبيّ محمِّدٌ
يتكلِّمُ العربيَّةَ الفُصْحَى. ((وماذا بعد؟))
ماذا بعد؟ صاحت فجأة جنديّةٌ:
هُوَ أَنتَ ثانيةً؟ أَلم أَقتلْكَ؟
قلت: قَتَلْتني… ونسيتُ، مثلك، أن أَموت.

 

Tamim Al-Barghouti

In Jerusalem:
(Translated by Houssem Ben Lazreg in Transference 5(1) Fall 2017:61-65)

We passed by the home of the beloved
but the enemy’s laws and wall turned us away
I said to myself, “Maybe, that is a blessing”
What will you see in Jerusalem when you visit?
You will see all that you can’t stand
when her houses become visible from all sides When meeting her beloved, not every soul rejoices Nor does every absence harm
If they are delighted when meeting before departure such joy cannot remain kindled
For once your eyes have seen Jerusalem
You will only see her, wherever you look.
In Jerusalem, a greengrocer from Georgia,
annoyed with his wife,
thinks of going on vacation or painting his house
In Jerusalem, a middle-aged man from Upper Manhattan holds a Torah and teaches Polish boys its commandments In Jerusalem, an Ethiopian policeman
seals off a street in the marketplace,
A machine gun hangs from the shoulder of a teenage settler, A person wearing a yarmulke
bows at the Wailing Wall,
Blonde European tourists who don’t see Jerusalem at all but spend most of the time taking pictures of each other

beside a Palestinian woman selling radishes in public squares all day long

In Jerusalem, there are walls of basil
In Jerusalem, there are barricades of concrete
In Jerusalem, the soldiers marched with heavy boots over the clouds
In Jerusalem, we were forced to pray on the asphalt

In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
And History turned to me and smiled:
“Have you really thought that you would overlook them
and see others?
Here they are in front of you;
They are the text while you are the footnote and margin
O son, have you thought that your visit would remove, from the city’s face, the thick veil of her present, so that you may see what you desire?
In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
Jerusalem is the wandering deer
As fate sentenced it to departure
You still chase her since she bid you farewell
O son, calm down for a while, I see that you began to faint” In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
O historian, wait,
The city has two timelines:
One foreign, serene, with steady steps as if it is walking asleep

The other wears a mask and walks secretly with caution
And Jerusalem knows herself,
Ask the people there, everyone will guide you
Everything in the city
has a tongue which, when you ask, will reply
In Jerusalem, the crescent becomes more curved like an embryo

Bending towards other crescents over the domes
And over the years, their relation developed to be like a father to a son

In Jerusalem, the stones of the buildings are quoted from the Bible and the Quran
In Jerusalem, beauty is octagonal and blue

On top of it, lies a golden dome
that looks like, I think, a convex mirror

Reflecting the face of the heavens
Playing with it, drawing it near
Distributing the sky, like aid in a siege for those in need

If people appeal to God after Friday sermon
In Jerusalem, the sky is shared by everyone,

We protect it and it protects us
And we carry it on our shoulders
If time oppresses its moons.
In Jerusalem, the marble columns are dark
as though their veins were smoke
Windows, high in mosques and churches,
took dawn by hand, showing him how to paint with colors

He says, “like this”
but the windows reply, “no, like this”
And after long debate, they compromise
as the dawn is free when outside the threshold

But if he wants to enter through God’s Windows

He has to abide by their rules
In Jerusalem there’s a school built by a Mameluke who came from beyond the river,
was sold at a slave market in Isfahan
to a merchant from Baghdad, who traveled to Aleppo,
and gave the Mameluke to Aleppo’s Prince
Fearing the blueness in the Mameluke’s left eye,
the Prince gave him to a caravan heading for Egypt
where soon, he became the vanquisher of the Moguls and the Sovereign Sultan
In Jerusalem, the scent of Babylon and India
are at an herbalist’s shop in Khan El Zeit
I swear, it is a scent with a language that you will understand if you listen;

It says to me
when tear gas canisters are being fired
“Don’t worry”
And as the gas wanes, that scent fills the air again and says:
“You see?”
In Jerusalem, contradictions get along, and wonders cannot be denied

People check them out like pieces of old and new fabric
and miracles there are tangible.
In Jerusalem, if you shake hands with an old man or touch a building you will find, engraved on your palm, my friend, a poem or two
In Jerusalem, despite successive calamities
a breeze of innocence and childhood fills the air
And you can see doves fly high
announcing, between two shots, the birth of an independent state

In Jerusalem, the rows of graves
are the lines of the city’s history while the book is the soil
Everyone has passed through
For Jerusalem welcomes all visitors, whether disbelievers or believers

Walk through, and read the headstones in all languages
You will find the Africans, the Europeans, the Kipchaks, the Slavs, the Bosniaks, the Tatars, the Turks, the believers, the disbelievers,
the poor and the rich, the hermits, and the miscreants
Here lie all sorts of people that ever walked the earth
They were the footnotes of the book, now they are the main text before us.
Is it just for us that the city has become too small?
Oh chronicler! What made you exclude us?
Re-write and think again, for I see that you made a grave mistake
The eyes close, then look again
The driver of the yellow car heads north, away from the city’s gates. And now Jerusalem is behind us
I could glance at her through the right wing-mirror
Her colors have changed before the sunset
Then, a smile sneaked onto my face
and said to me when I looked close and careful,
“Oh you who weep behind the wall, are you a fool?
Have you lost your mind?
Do not weep because you were excluded from the main text
O Arab, do not weep, and know for sure
that whomever is in Jerusalem
It is only you I see.”

Original:
مَرَرْنا عَلــى دارِ الحبيب فرَدَّنا
عَنِ الدارِ قانونُ الأعادي وسورُهافَقُلْتُ لنفســي رُبما هِيَ نِعْمَةٌ
فماذا تَرَى في القدسِ حينَ تَزُورُها
تَرَى كُلَّ ما لا تستطيعُ احتِمالَهُ
إذا ما بَدَتْ من جَانِبِ الدَّرْبِ دورُهاوما كلُّ نفسٍ حينَ تَلْقَى حَبِيبَها تُـسَرُّ
ولا كُلُّ الغـِيابِ يُضِيرُهافإن سـرَّها قبلَ الفِراقِ لِقاؤُه
فليسَ بمأمـونٍ عليها سـرُورُهامتى تُبْصِرِ القدسَ العتيقةَ مَرَّةً
فسوفَ تراها العَيْنُ حَيْثُ تُدِيرُها***
في القدسِ، بائعُ خضرةٍ من جورجيا برمٌ بزوجته
يفكرُ في قضاءِ إجازةٍ أو في في طلاءِ البيتْفي القدس، توراةٌ وكهلٌ جاءَ من مَنْهاتِنَ العُليا يُفَقَّهُ فتيةَ البُولُونِ في أحكامها
في القدسِ شرطيٌ من الأحباشِ يُغْلِقُ شَارِعاً في السوقِ..
رشَّاشٌ على مستوطنٍ لم يبلغِ العشرينَ،
قُبَّعة تُحَيِّي حائطَ المبكَىوسياحٌ من الإفرنجِ شُقْرٌ لا يَرَوْنَ القدسَ إطلاقاً
تَراهُم يأخذونَ لبعضهم صُوَرَاًمَعَ امْرَأَةٍ تبيعُ الفِجْلَ في الساحاتِ طُولَ اليَومْفي القدسِ دَبَّ الجندُ مُنْتَعِلِينَ فوقَ الغَيمْفي القدسِ صَلَّينا على الأَسْفَلْتْ
في القدسِ مَن في القدسِ إلا أنْتْ!***
وَتَلَفَّتَ التاريخُ لي مُتَبَسِّماً
أَظَنَنْتَ حقاً أنَّ عينَك سوفَ تخطئهم،! وتبصرُ غيرَهم
ها هُم أمامَكَ، مَتْنُ نصٍّ أنتَ حاشيةٌ عليهِ وَهَامشٌ

أَحَسبتَ أنَّ زيارةً سَتُزيحُ عن وجهِ المدينةِ، يا بُنَيَّ، حجابَ واقِعِها السميكَ
لكي ترى فيها هَواكْ
في القدسِ كلًّ فتى سواكْ

وهي الغزالةُ في المدى، حَكَمَ الزمانُ بِبَيْنِها
ما زِلتَ تَرْكُضُ إثْرَهَا مُذْ وَدَّعَتْكَ بِعَيْنِها
رفقاً بِنَفسكَ ساعةً إني أراكَ وَهَنْتْ
في القدسِ من في القدسِ إلا أَنْتْ

***
يا كاتبَ التاريخِ مَهْلاً، فالمدينةُ دهرُها دهرانِ

دهر أجنبي مطمئنٌ لا يغيرُ خطوَه وكأنَّه يمشي خلالَ النومْ
وهناك دهرٌ، كامنٌ متلثمٌ يمشي بلا صوتٍ حِذار القومْ

والقدس تعرف نفسها..
إسأل هناك الخلق يدْلُلْكَ الجميعُ
فكلُّ شيء في المدينة
ذو لسانٍ، حين تَسأَلُهُ، يُبينْ

في القدس يزدادُ الهلالُ تقوساً مثلَ الجنينْ
حَدْباً على أشباهه فوقَ القبابِ
تَطَوَّرَتْ ما بَيْنَهم عَبْرَ السنينَ عِلاقةُ الأَبِ بالبَنينْ

في القدس أبنيةٌ حجارتُها اقتباساتٌ من الإنجيلِ والقرآنْ

في القدس تعريفُ الجمالِ مُثَمَّنُ الأضلاعِ أزرقُ،
فَوْقَهُ، يا دامَ عِزُّكَ، قُبَّةٌ ذَهَبِيَّةٌ،
تبدو برأيي، مثل مرآة محدبة ترى وجه السماء مُلَخَّصَاً فيها
تُدَلِّلُها وَتُدْنِيها

تُوَزِّعُها كَأَكْياسِ المعُونَةِ في الحِصَارِ لمستَحِقِّيها
إذا ما أُمَّةٌ من بعدِ خُطْبَةِ جُمْعَةٍ مَدَّتْ بِأَيْدِيها

***

وفي القدس السماءُ تَفَرَّقَتْ في الناسِ تحمينا ونحميها
ونحملُها على أكتافِنا حَمْلاً إذا جَارَت على أقمارِها الأزمانْ

في القدس أعمدةُ الرُّخامِ الداكناتُ
كأنَّ تعريقَ الرُّخامِ دخانْ

ونوافذٌ تعلو المساجدَ والكنائس،
أَمْسَكَتْ بيدِ الصُّباحِ تُرِيهِ كيفَ النقشُ بالألوانِ،

وَهْوَ يقول: ?لا بل هكذا?،
فَتَقُولُ: ?لا بل هكذا?،

حتى إذا طال الخلافُ تقاسما
فالصبحُ حُرٌّ خارجَ العَتَبَاتِ لَكِنْ
إن أرادَ دخولَها
فَعَلَيهِ أن يَرْضَى بحُكْمِ نوافذِ الرَّحمنْ

***
في القدس مدرسةٌ لمملوكٍ أتى مما وراءَ النهرِ،
باعوهُ بسوقِ نِخَاسَةٍ في أصفهانَلتاجرٍ من أهلِ بغدادٍ
أتى حلباً فخافَ أميرُها من زُرْقَةٍ في عَيْنِهِ اليُسْرَى،
فأعطاهُ لقافلةٍ أتت مصراً
فأصبحَ بعدَ بضعِ سنينَ غَلاَّبَ المغولِ وصاحبَ السلطانْ

في القدس رائحةٌ تُلَخِّصُ بابلاً والهندَ في دكانِ عطارٍ بخانِ الزيتْ
واللهِ رائحةٌ لها لغةٌ سَتَفْهَمُها إذا أصْغَيتْ

وتقولُ لي إذ يطلقونَ قنابل الغاز المسيِّلِ للدموعِ عَلَيَّ: ?لا تحفل بهم?
وتفوحُ من بعدِ انحسارِ الغازِ، وَهْيَ تقولُ لي: ?أرأيتْ!?

في القدس يرتاحُ التناقضُ، والعجائبُ ليسَ ينكرُها العِبادُ،
كأنها قِطَعُ القِمَاشِ يُقَلِّبُونَ قَدِيمها وَجَدِيدَها،
والمعجزاتُ هناكَ تُلْمَسُ باليَدَيْنْ

في القدس لو صافحتَ شيخاً أو لمستَ بنايةً
لَوَجَدْتَ منقوشاً على كَفَّيكَ نَصَّ قصيدَةٍ
يا بْنَ الكرامِ أو اثْنَتَيْنْ

في القدس، رغمَ تتابعِ النَّكَباتِ، ريحُ براءةٍ في الجوِّ، ريحُ طُفُولَةٍ،
فَتَرى الحمامَ يَطِيرُ يُعلِنُ دَوْلَةً في الريحِ بَيْنَ رَصَاصَتَيْنْ

***
في القدس تنتظمُ القبورُ، كأنهنَّ سطورُ تاريخِ المدينةِ والكتابُ ترابُها
الكل مرُّوا من هُنا

فالقدسُ تقبلُ من أتاها كافراً أو مؤمنا
أُمرر بها واقرأ شواهدَها بكلِّ لغاتِ أهلِ الأرضِ

فيها الزنجُ والإفرنجُ والقِفْجَاقُ والصِّقْلابُ والبُشْنَاقُ
والتتارُ والأتراكُ، أهلُ الله والهلاك، والفقراءُ والملاك، والفجارُ والنساكُ،
فيها كلُّ من وطئَ الثَّرى

كانوا الهوامشَ في الكتابِ فأصبحوا نَصَّ المدينةِ قبلنا

يا كاتب التاريخِ ماذا جَدَّ فاستثنيتنا
يا شيخُ فلتُعِدِ الكتابةَ والقراءةَ مرةً أخرى، أراك لَحَنْتْ

العين تُغْمِضُ، ثمَّ تنظُرُ، سائقُ السيارةِ الصفراءِ، مالَ بنا شَمالاً نائياً عن بابها
والقدس صارت خلفنا

والعينُ تبصرُها بمرآةِ اليمينِ،
تَغَيَّرَتْ ألوانُها في الشمسِ، مِنْ قبلِ الغيابْ

إذ فاجَأَتْني بسمةٌ لم أدْرِ كيفَ تَسَلَّلَتْ للوَجْهِ
قالت لي وقد أَمْعَنْتُ ما أَمْعنْتْ

يا أيها الباكي وراءَ السورِ، أحمقُ أَنْتْ؟
أَجُنِنْتْ؟

لا تبكِ عينُكَ أيها المنسيُّ من متنِ الكتابْ
لا تبكِ عينُكَ أيها العَرَبِيُّ واعلمْ أنَّهُ

في القدسِ من في القدسِ لكنْ
لا أَرَى في القدسِ إلا أَنْت.

June Jordan

Apologies to All the People in Lebanon

Dedicated to the 600,000 Palestinian men, women, and children who lived in Lebanon from 1948-1983.

I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?
They said you shot the London Ambassador
and when that wasn’t true
they said so
what
They said you shelled their northern villages
and when U.N. forces reported that was not true
because your side of the cease-fire was holding
since more than a year before
they said so
what
They said they wanted simply to carve
a 25 mile buffer zone and then
they ravaged your
water supplies your electricity your
hospitals your schools your highways and byways all
the way north to Beirut because they said this
was their quest for peace
They blew up your homes and demolished the grocery
stores and blocked the Red Cross and took away doctors
to jail and they cluster-bombed girls and boys
whose bodies
swelled purple and black into twice the original size
and tore the buttocks from a four month old baby
and then
they said this was brilliant
military accomplishment and this was done
they said in the name of self-defense they said
that is the noblest concept
of mankind isn’t that obvious?
They said something about never again and then
they made close to one million human beings homeless
in less than three weeks and they killed or maimed
40,000 of your men and your women and your children
But I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?
They said they were victims. They said you were
Arabs.
They called      your apartments and gardens      guerrilla
strongholds.
They called      the screaming devastation
that they created       the rubble.
Then they told you to leave, didn’t they?
Didn’t you read the leaflets that they dropped
from their hotshot fighter jets?
They told you to go.
One hundred and thirty-five thousand
Palestinians in Beirut and why
didn’t you take the hint?
Go!
There was the Mediterranean: You
could walk into the water and stay
there.
What was the problem?
I didn’t know and nobody told me and what
could I do or say, anyway?
Yes, I did know it was the money I earned as a poet that
paid
for the bombs and the planes and the tanks
that they used to massacre your family
But I am not an evil person
The people of my country aren’t so bad
You can expect but so much
from those of us who have to pay taxes and watch
American TV
You see my point;
I’m sorry.
I really am sorry.
From : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48757/apologies-to-all-the-people-in-lebanon
Lisa Suhair Majaj
https://beladi.org/2021/05/21/conversation-a-poem-by-lisa-suhair-majaj/
Yehuda Ha-Levi:
My Heart Is In The East
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
My heart is in the east, and the rest of me at the edge of the west.
How can I taste the food I eat? How can it give me pleasure? 
How can I keep my promise now, or fulfill the vows I’ve made
While Zion remains in the Cross’s reign1, and I in Arab chains? 
With pleasure I would leave behind all the good things of Spain,
If only I could gaze on the dust of our ruined Holy Place.
Original:
לִבִּי בְמִזְרָח וְאָנֹכִי בְּסוֹף מַעֲרָב
אֵיךְ אֶטְעֲמָה אֵת אֲשֶׁר אֹכַל וְאֵיךְ יֶעֱרָב
אֵיכָה אֲשַׁלֵּם נְדָרַי וָאֱסָרַי, בְּעוֹד
צִיּוֹן בְּחֶבֶל אֱדוֹם וַאֲנִי בְּכֶבֶל עֲרָב
יֵקַל בְּעֵינַי עֲזֹב כָּל טוּב סְפָרַד, כְּמוֹ
יֵקַר בְּעֵינַי רְאוֹת עַפְרוֹת דְּבִיר נֶחֱרָב.
1-The Crusaders had taken Jerusalem (1099) at the time of the poem’s composition and forbidden Jews to live there.
http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com/2014/08/yehuda-halevi-my-heart-is-in-east-from.html

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