Wednesday, March 30, 2005

from "Homage to Edward Said"

by Mahmoud Darwish

And your identity? Said I.

His response: Self-defence . . . Conferred on us at birth, in the end it is we who fashion our identity, it is not hereditary. I am manifold . . . Within me, my outer self renewed. But I belong to the victim’s interrogation.

Were I not from that place, I would have trained my heart to raise metonymy’s gazelle there . . .

So take your birthplace along wherever you go and be a narcissist if need be.

- Exile, the outside world. Exile, the hidden world. Who then are you between them?

- I do not introduce myself lest I lose myself. I am what I am.

I am my other in harmonious duality between word and geste.

Were I a poet, I should have written:

I am two in one, like the swallow’s wings.

And if spring is late coming, I am content to be its harbinger!

He loves countries and leaves them. (Is the impossible remote?) He loves to migrate towards everything. Travelling freely between cultures, there is room for all who seek the essence of man.

A margin moves forward and a centre retreats. The East is not completely the East, nor the West, the West. Identity is multifaceted.

It is neither a citadel nor is it absolute.

The metaphor slumbered on one bank of the river. Had it not been for the pollution,

It would have embraced the other.


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