WASHINGTON (AFP) — Mahmud Darwish, widely considered one of the greatest Palestinian poets, died Saturday in a US hospital following open-heart surgery, hospital officials told AFP.
"Mr Darwish has died at 1:35 pm (1835 GMT)," said Ann Brimberry, a spokeswoman for the Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he was being treated told AFP.
Darwish had been in critical condition in the US hospital and according to a friend in Jerusalem had been placed on life support two days ago following complications arising from the surgery.
Darwish has published more than two dozen books of poetry and prose rooted in his experience of Palestinian exile and the bitter Middle East conflict in a career spanning nearly five decades.
Poet Mahmoud Darwish dead at 67
Mahmoud Darwish, the world's most recognised Palestinian poet, whose prose gave voice to the Palestinian experience of exile and infighting, has died in Houston, Texas. He was 67.>>>>>>
A prayer and a poem
In one minute the lifetime of a house is ended. When a house is killed, it is a serial killing, even if the house is empty: a mass grave of all the things once used to give a home to Meaning, or, in times of war, to a marginal poem.
A slaughtered house is the severing of things from what they meant, from the feelings they inspired. It's the duty of tragedy to change the gaze of eloquence and to reflect upon the life of Things, for in everything there's a being that suffers: a memory of fingers, a memory of a smell, a memory of a picture. Houses are murdered just as their inhabitants are killed and the memories of things are slaughtered: stones, wood, glass, iron, mortar - scattered like human limbs. Cotton silk, linen, exercise books, books - torn apart like the unsaid words of people who did not have the time to say them. Dishes broken, spoons, toys, old records, pipes, doorknobs, the refrigerator, the washing machine, pots, jars of olives and pickles, cars - all broken, like their owners. The two whites - sugar and salt - are trod upon along with matchboxes, medicines, birth control pills, steroids, strings of garlic and onions, dried okra, tomatoes, rice and lentils - all are trod upon as are their owners.
Land-deeds and marriage certificates torn apart with birth papers, water and electricity bills, identity cards, passports, love letters - torn apart like the hearts of their owners.
Photographs are swept away with combs, make-up, brushes, shoes, lingerie, sheets, towels, swept away like family secrets betrayed to others and to devastation. All these things are the memories of people deprived of things, and the memory of things deprived of people .... Everything ends in one minute. Things die like we do, but they are not buried with us.
Translation: Tania Nasir and John Berger
The Girl / The Scream
There is a girl on a sea shore
And the girl has a family
And the family has a house
And the house has two windows and a door.
And at sea there's a warship playing a game
of targeting those taking a stroll on the shore.
Four five seven drop to the sand.
The girl is spared by a sleeve of mist
a certain celestial sleeve came to rescue her.
She calls out: Dad, my Dad, let's go home, this sea is not for us.
And the father does not reply.
He lies there in an agony of absence, wrapped in his shadow in an agony of absence.
Blood in her palms blood in the clouds,
Her scream flies away with her far from the sea shore and higher.
She screams in the night of a wilderness
The echo has no echo
And the girl becomes the eternal scream of a breaking news event made obsolete by the planes return
to bomb a house with two windows and a door.
Translation: Tania Nasir and John Berger
One of the most beautiful songs ever written Oummi (“My Mother”), the lyrics of the song are based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish,
I long for my mother's bread
My mother's coffee
Childhood memories grow up in me
Day after day
I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother.
And if I come back one day
Take me as a veil to your eyelashes
Cover my bones with the grass
Blessed by your footsteps
Bind us together
With a lock of your hair
With a thread that trails from the back of your dress
I might become immortal
Become a God
If I touch the depths of your heart.
If I come back
Use me as wood to feed your fire
As the clothesline on the roof of your house
Without your blessing
I am too weak to stand.
I am old
Give me back the star maps of childhood
So that I
Along with the swallows
Can chart the path
Back to your waiting nest.
Video: Remembering Mahmoud Darwish