[sixties-l] Mahmoud Dawish, "Reiquiem for Mohammad Al-Dura"

From: Carrol Cox (cbcox@ilstu.edu)
Date: 12/06/00

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                        Requiem for Mohammad
                              Mahmoud Dawish
    translated by Tania Tamari Nasir and
        Christopher Millis
    (LRB 30 November 2000)
    Nestled in his father's arms, a bird
    afraid of the hell above him,
    Mohammad prays:
    Father, protect me from flying.
    My wing is weak against the wind,
    and the light is black.
    Mohammad wants to go home,
    without a bicycle, without a new shirt.
    He wants his school desk and his book
    of grammar. Take me home, father, so I can finish
    my homework and complete my years slowly,
    slowly on the seashore and under the palms.
    Nothing further.
    Nothing beyond.
    Mohammad faces an army, without a stone, without
    the shrapnel of stars. He did not see the wall
    where he could write: "My freedom willl
    not die." He has, as yet, no freedom,
    no horizon for a single Picasso dove.
    He is still being born. He is still
    being born into the curse of his name.
    How often should a boy be born without a childhood or a country?
    And where will he dream, when the dream comes to him.
    Mohammad sees his death approach
    and remembers a moment from TV
    when a tiger stalking a nursing fawn
    shied away upon smelling the milk,
    as if milk tames a beast of prey.
    And so I am going to be saved, says the boy,
    and he weeps. My life is there, hidden
    in my mother's closet. I will be saved . . .
    I can see it.
    hunters are gunning down angels, and the only witness
    is a camera's eye
    watching a boy become one
    with his shadow.
    His face like the sunrise, clear.
    And the dew on his trousers, clear.
    His hunter could have thought:
    I'll leave him
    until he can spell "Palestine,"
    I'll pawn him tomorrow,
    kill him when he rebels.
    small Christ, where you sleep and dream
    is itself an icon
    made of olive branches and brass
    and a people wh are rising up.
    blood superfluous to prohets and prophecies,
    so to the right side of heaven ascend,
    O Mohammad.

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