End of a Talk with a Jailer
From the narrow window of my small cell,
I see trees that are smiling at me
and rooftops crowded with my family.
And windows weeping and praying for me.
From the narrow window of my small cell –
I can see your big cell!
The day I’m killed
my killer will find
tickets in my pockets:
One to peace,
one to fields and the rain,
to humanity’s conscience.
I beg you – please don’t waste them.
I beg you, you who kill me: Go.
Samih al-Qasim is one of the Palestinian “resistance poets” of the 1950s, and has been jailed several times for his writing. A prolific poet, playwright, novelist and essayist, he is described as “an outspoken opponent of racism and oppression on all sides of the Middle East conflict.”
Translated from the Arabic by Nazih Kassis: Samih al-Qasim, Sadder Than Water, Ibis Editions 2006.