Palestine: Three Poems of Resistance

Salem Jubran: The Exile

 

The sun walks through the border

Guns keep silent

A skylark starts its morning song

In Tulkarem

And flies away to sup

With the birds of a Kibbutz

A lonely donkey strolls

Across the firing line

Unheeded by the watching squad

But for me, your ousted son, my native land,

Between your skies and my eyes,

A stretch of border walls

Blackens the view!

 

Tawfiq Zayyad: The Impossible

 

It is much easier for you

To push an elephant through a needle’s eye,

Catch fried fish in galaxy,

Blow out the sun,

Imprison the wind,

Or make a crocodile speak,

Than to destroy by persecution

The shimmering glow of a belief

Or check our march

Towards our cause

One single step…

 

Fadwa Tuqan: Ever Alive

 

My beloved homeland

No matter how long the millstone

Of pain and agony churns you

In the wilderness of tyranny,

They will never be able

To pluck your eyes

Or kill your hopes and dreams

Or crucify your will to rise

Or steel the smiles of our children

Or destroy and burn,

Because out from our deep sorrows,

Out from the freshness of our spilled blood

Out from the quivering of life and death

Life will be reborn in you again………

 

For as long as the Palestinians have endured occupation and oppression—first under the British in the 1920-30s, then by the Israeli state after 1948—they have produced writers and poets who have articulated not only humiliation and despair, but also resistance and the hope of liberation.

Israel’s most famous military commander of the 20th century, the notorious Moshe Dayan, once said of the great Palestinian poet Fadwa Tuqan that one of her poems was enough to create ten Palestinian resistance fighters.

The dissident Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has written, “What political activists did not dare express, poets sang out with force…”

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