انا من هناك—I am of that place.

A poem by the Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwich (محمود درويش). Translation is mine.

أنا من هناك. ولي ذكرياتٌ . ولدت كما تولد الناس. لي والدة

وبيتٌ كثير النوافذِ. لي إخوةٌ. أصدقاء. وسجنٌ بنافذة باردهْ.

ولي موجةٌ خطَِفتها النوارس. لي مشهدي الخاص. لي عُشْبةٌ زائدهْ

ولي قمرٌ في أقاصي الكلام، ورزقُ الطيور، وزيتونةٌ خالدهْ

مررتُ على الأرض قبل مرور السيوف على جسدٍ حوّلوه إلى مائدهْ.

أنا من هناك. أعيد السماء إلى أمها حين تبكي السماء على أمها، وأبكي لتعرفني غيمةٌ عائدهْ.

تعلّمتُ كل كلام يليقُ بمحكمة الدم كي أكسر القاعدهْ

تعلّمتُ كل الكلام، وفككته كي أركب مفردةً واحدهْ

هي: الوطنُ

The first day of spring as well as Mother's Day, 2015; Qurnayel, El-Jebel, Lebanon.

The first day of spring as well as Mother’s Day, 2015; Qurnayel, El-Jebel, Lebanon.

I am of that place; mine are the remembrances; I was born as all were born. Mine is the mother who birthed me; the many-windowed house. Mine is the brotherhood; the friendship; imprisonment’s cold window. I am the wave the seagulls would abduct. Here I bear my own witness. I am yet another blade of grass, and I am the moon at words’ end; a sustenance of manna and quail; an eternal olive tree.

I passed through that land before swords transformed its bones into cornucopia. I am of that place. The sky celebrates its mother in the tears it sheds for her, and I cry for her recognizing me in the cloud’s bounty. I’ve learned all the words that befit the bloody court; with them I break its very rules. I’ve learned the words, and I break them down, I distill them down to one noun. To wit: Homeland.


I am eternally grateful to Umm and Abou Jamal as well as their extended family for welcoming me into their homes and into their lives.

About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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