Mahmoud Darwish

writer (1941–2008)

Mahmoud Darwish (13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author who was regarded as the Palestinian national poet. He won numerous awards for his works. Darwish used Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile.[2][3] He has been described as incarnating and reflecting "the tradition of the political poet in Islam, the man of action whose action is poetry."[4] He also served as an editor for several literary magazines in Palestine.

Darwish in 2006




  • When you prepare your breakfast, think upon others
    Do not forget to feed the pigeons.
  • When you engage in your wars, think upon others
    Do not forget those who demand peace.
  • As you pay your water bill, think upon others
    Who seek sustenance from the clouds, not a tap.
  • And when you return home – to your house – think upon others
    Such as those who live in tents.
  • When you fall asleep counting planets, think upon others
    Who cannot find a place to sleep.
  • And as you search for meaning with fancy metaphors, think upon others
    Who have lost their right to speak.
  • And when you think of others, far away, think of yourself
    And say: I am a candle in the darkness.

Quotes about Mahmoud Darwish

  • Whatever her or his social identity, the writer is, by the nature of the act of writing, someone who strives for communication and connection, someone who searches, through language, to keep alive the conversation with what Octavio Paz has called "the lost community." Even if what's written feels like a note thrust into a bottle to be thrown into the sea. The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish writes of the incapacity of poetry to find a linguistic equivalent to conditions such as the 1982 Israeli shelling of Beirut: We are now not to describe, as much as we are to be described. We're being born totally, or else dying totally. In his remarkable prose-meditation on that war, he also says, Yet I want to break into song.... I want to find a language that transforms language itself into steel for the spirit-a language to use against these sparkling silver insects, these jets. I want to sing. I want a language that I can lean on and that can lean on me, that asks me to bear witness and that I can ask to bear witness, to what power there is in us to overcome this cosmic isolation.
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