The Owl’s Night – Mahmoud Darwish

Here is a present that yesterday doesn’t touch… 

When we reached 

the last of the trees we noticed that we 

were no longer able to notice. When 

we looked at the trucks. We saw absence 

heaping up its selected things and pitching 

its eternal tent around us… 

Here is a present 

that yesterday doesn’t touch 

Silk thread slips between the mulberrry trees 

letters on the nights’s notebook. Only 

butterflies light our boldness 

descending to the hollow of strange words: 

Was this difficult man my father? 

Perhaps I’ll look after myself here. Perhaps 

I’ll give birth, now, to myself, with myself 

and choose for my name vertical letters… 

Here is a present 

sitting in time’s emptiness, staring 

at the trace of those who pas on the river’s reeds 

polishing their flutes with wind…Perhpas speech 

will become transparent, so we’ll see windows in it, open 

Perhaps time will hurry, with us 

carrying our tomorrow in its luggage… 

Here is a present 

without time 

No one here found anyone who remembered 

how we left the door, a gust of wind. Or anyone who remembered 

when we fell off yesterday. Yesterday 

shattered ove rth floor, shrapnel gathered together 

by others, like mirrors for the image, after us… 

Here is a present 

without place 

Perhaps I’ll look after myself and scream at 

the owl’s night: Was that difficult man 

my father, who would have me carry the burden of his history? 

Perhpas I’ll transform within my name and choose 

my mother’s words and habits as it should 

be: She’ll be able to joke with me 

whenever salt touches my blood. She’ll be able 

to comfort me whenever a nightingale bites my mouth! 

Here is a present 

fleeting 

Here strangers hung their guns on 

the branches of an olive tree, prepared dinner 

quickly from tin cans, and left 

quickly for their trucks…