Chawki Bazih – Palestine

Bazih LE P&W January 2024

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Live Encounters Gaza Poetry & Writing, January 2024

Palestine, poem by Chawki Bazih.


I would not talk about it
To interpret what the clouds of suspicion leaked from the ambiguity of its terrain
Or to lift metaphors from their sterility
As it is broader than a nickname for a country
And beyond what suspicions say
And it is a buried alive land
That reincarnates at the moment of revelation
What it wants to be
So I do not say its name
To make up for its deficiency in incarnation
With its straight yearning for completion
Rather, to bandage his limbs with burns
Those who entrusted her with the treasure of their dreams
And let the teats of waterwheels write it by the burning of the gravel
And those who have lost their speech with rattles
And mothers write it with the light of their eyes
As Palestine is farther away than the maps indicate
Far beyond its glow in legends
An opening to enter a world whose innocence has not been touched,
And the turning of a people of refugees to their sanctuary, kneeling,
And it is the concealment of hidden absence
Beyond fields of sorrow
And a place for small mountains to grow
And the grass and the people
Side by side
And so that we can return to it if time comes
So that we may protect with tears the jewels of its pains
And float, even if by drowning, on the water of its lakes
And heal the wounded forehead of the broken dust
And plow it dead
Even with the eyelids
There are no countries that yearn at its Genesis

In the book of sacred existence
Unless it means Palestine
There are no ruins of Andalusia
lost in time
And the brilliance of its beacons continued to penetrate thirsty
In the depths of blood
Except that means Palestine
There is no tenderness of heart that two lovers exchanged
On the altar of existence
Except it means Palestine
Palestine is not only a destination
For Beauty to create a monument to itself
From the marble of trouble
Nor an excuse for dressing up a song with a fabricated screaming weeds
In the facades of singing
Nor is it purely geographical in its depth
Of air, mud, and water
But it is our longing for a refined ascension
To the heart of the soul at its purest end
And our desire to make noise, devoid of every sound
To the noblest mutterings
That the throats raised above the coffins
To reach the ear of heaven
And it is what revelation uses
To bring souls back to their senses
Whenever love decreases on earth
Or emptied of the splendor of its psalms
The quiver of the prophets
And If it had not been, it would have had to be constructed
From the mirage of wishing
And from the need of beings for a sign to appear
And from the need of the crookedness to be straightened

I would not talk about it then
And I was the one born five drivers
And twenty massacres away
From its sweet dirt
And I am the one who women’s tender songs, till tears, took care of
With the voices of those who continued to dig
With nails under the dirt
To reach it
And those who fell without the rags of its bitter clay
Generation after generation
And I am the one whose winters were intertwined with torrents.
Not a drop of water flowed
In the slender veins of the south
Except that it was covered with the most delicious green clouds
The mountains of Galilee
This is where the south becomes north
Of the revenues Palestine has stored from songs
And north becomes south
For those who set fire to the hills
So that the martyrs may be guided by their phoenix
When it steps into the light
Rising from the ashes of the ages
The bones of the victims meet on both sides of the border
And the backs of the graves support the graves
Here no eagle spreads its wings
Above the borrowed “Kafr Bir’am” hills
From sun visor
Unless it leaves a shadow for itself

In the canyons of the Al-Khayyam plain
And there is no poem
Its beginning was the Haifa Sea
With the wave of intuition
Except it was completed by the Sea of Tyre
I would not talk about it then
However, I will prick with the needle of her pain
What I waste of my language
On the deserted sand of its coasts
Perhaps, I would not kiss those houses
That their walls hidden behind the wires
Of Jericho orphaned lightning
And I will not be able to prune its pomegranates even once
From the bark of the lipas
And its olives from the toxins of abandonment
And I may not join its moons
On a stream of boiling water
But, oh dust, we gave it the most noble of our children
And we were warmed with its breasts as infants
And with its thorns in youth
And with its furrows helplessly
I will braid my voice with the strongest winds
To ask you now:
How many Christs do we have to lift his waitings
From the slopes of resurrection?
How many sacrificial sunsets
Should we invent a blush for its henna?

How much should we receive mourning with black?
And how many stars must be erased
For the morning to come
And is there any purgatory to cross over to your mother’s cradle
That our liver have not tested?
Or basements whose tunnels we did not dig with nails?
Or a group of anemones
We did not turn towards it with wounds
And how many candles will we light?
How many martyrs will fall?
How many springs will be killed alive?
For God to break his silence
After He breathed the soul into it
And declared it a qiblah/destination and a place of prayer
And an icon of visions
Then He handed it over to the claws of its enemies
And He rested.

© Chawki Bazih

Chawki Bazih (1951) is a contemporary Lebanese poet. He has dozens of books on poetry and prose, as well as critical, literary, cultural, and intellectual articles. He won the Okaz Poet Award in 2010 and the Al Owais Cultural Award in 2015. In addition, he received the Jumblatt Medal in 2010, the Palestine Medal in 2017, and the Special Honor Award at the Mahmoud Darwish Award for Culture and Creativity in March 2020.

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