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Mahmoud Darwish

I Want from Love
Only the Beginning

Translated by Fady Joudah

I want from love only the beginning, the pigeons darn
this day’s dress over my Granada squares.
There’s a lot of wine in the jars for a feast after us.
There are enough windows in the songs for pomegranate blossoms to explode

I leave the Arabian jasmine in the vase, I leave my little heart
in my mother’s closet, I leave my dream laughing in water.
I leave the dawn in the honey of figs, I leave my day and my yesterday
in the alleyway to the orange plaza where the pigeons fly

Was I the one who descended to your feet, for speech to rise
as a white moon in your nights’ milk…Stomp the air
for me to see the street of the flute blue…Stomp the evening
for me to see how marble falls ill between me and you

The windows are empty of your shawl’s gardens. In a different time
I used to know a lot about you, and pick gardenia
off your ten fingers. In a different time, I had pearls
around your neck, and a name on a ring illuminating darkness

I want from love only the beginning, the pigeons flew
over the sky’s last ceiling, the pigeons flew and flew.
A lot of wine will remain, after us, in the jars
and a bit of land is enough for us to meet, and for peace to arrive


Excerpted from IF I WERE ANOTHER by Mahmoud Darwish, translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah, to be published in November by Farrar, Straus, and Grioux, LLC. Translation Copyright © 2009 by Fady Joudah. All rights Reserved. CAUTION: Users are warned that the Work appearing herein is protected under copyright laws and reproduction of the text, in any form for distribution is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the Work via any medium must be secured with the copyright owner.