The Prison Cell – Mahmoud Darwish

It is possible… 

It is possible at least sometimes… 

It is possible especially now 

To ride a horse 

Inside a prison cell 

And run away… 
It is possible for prison walls 

To disappear, 

For the cell to become a distant land 

Without frontiers: 
What did you do with the walls? 

I gave them back to the rocks. 

And what did you do with the ceiling? 

I turned it into a saddle. 

And your chain? 

I turned it into a pencil. 
The prison guard got angry. 

He put an end to my dialogue. 

He said he didn’t care for poetry, 

And bolted the door of my cell. 
He came back to see me 

In the morning, 

He shouted at me: 
Where did all this water come from? 

I brought it from the Nile. 

And the trees? 

From the orchards of Damascus. 

And the music? 

From my heartbeat. 
The prison guard got mad; 

He put an end to my dialogue. 

He said he didn’t like my poetry, 

And bolted the door of my cell. 
But he returned in the evening: 
Where did this moon come from? 

From the nights of Baghdad. 

And the wine? 

From the vineyards of Algiers. 

And this freedom? 

From the chain you tied me with last night. 
The prison guard grew so sad… 

He begged me to give him back 

His freedom.

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