Poems by Palestinian Poets

Poems by Palestinian Poets

The injustice taking place in Palestine has become known to the entire world because of the power of social media. I, like many of you have had my instagram feed flooded with posts about Palestine - and these posts range from explaining what is going on to ways to help Palestinians. In addition to learning about the history of the region and its modern consequences, I have also been drawn to poetry about Palestine, poems by Mahmoud Darwish and modern poets as well. I urge you to take a moment to hear their words and allow yourself to feel their pain, hope, distress, and love.

I Belong There

Mahmoud Darwish

I come from there, and memories are what I have.

I was born just like you; I have a mother and a home with many windows. I have brothers, friends and a prison with one cold window. A wave stolen by seagulls, my own scene, an excessive herb.

I have a moon in the furthest extents of words,

the livelihood of birds and an immortal olive tree.

I wandered through this earth before these swords passed over a body turning it to a feast.

I come from there. I bring the skies back to its mother when it cries over its absence. I cry, so that a returning cloud may know me. I learned each language suitable for the court of blood so that I may break the rules. I learned the entire language, then disassembled it, in order to compose a single word: homeland.

When the Martyrs Go to Sleep

Mahmoud Darwish

When the martyrs go to sleep I wake up to guard them against professional mourners

I say to them: I hope you wake in a country with clouds and trees, mirage and water.

I congratulate them on their safety from the incredible event, from

the surplus-value of the slaughter.

I steal time so they can snatch me from time. Are we all martyrs?

I whisper: friends, leave one wall for the laundry line. Leave a night

for singing.

I will hang your names wherever you want, so sleep awhile, sleep on

the ladder of the sour vine tree

So I can guard your dreams against the daggers of your guards and the plot of the Book against the prophets.

Be the song of those who have no songs when you go to sleep tonight.

I say to you: I hope you wake in a country and pack it on the a

galloping mare.

I whisper: friends, you’ll never be like us, the rope of an unknown gallows.

Running Orders


They call us now,

before they drop the bombs.

The phone rings

and someone who knows my first name

calls and says in perfect Arabic

“This is David.”

And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass-shattering symphonies

still smashing around in my head

I think, Do I know any Davids in Gaza?

They call us now to say


You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.

Your house is next.

They think of it as some kind of

war-time courtesy.

It doesn’t matter that

there is nowhere to run to.

It means nothing that the borders are closed

and your papers are worthless

and mark you only for a life sentence

in this prison by the sea

and the alleyways are narrow

and there are more human lives

packed one against the other

more than any other place on earth

Just run.

We aren’t trying to kill you.

It doesn’t matter that

you can’t call us back to tell us

the people we claim to want aren’t in your house

that there’s no one here

except you and your children

who were cheering for Argentina

sharing the last loaf of bread for this week

counting candles left in case the power goes out.

It doesn’t matter that you have children.

You live in the wrong place

and now is your chance to run

to nowhere.

It doesn’t matter

that 58 seconds isn’t long enough

to find your wedding album

or your son’s favorite blanket

or your daughter’s almost completed college application

or your shoes

or to gather everyone in the house.

It doesn’t matter what you had planned.

It doesn’t matter who you are.

Prove you’re human.

Prove you stand on two legs.


Broken Ghazal, Before Balfour

“It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.

—The Balfour Declaration, 1917

It being clearly understood that the gazelle was not

always a border between extinct and endangered.

It being clearly understood that ground sumac & the heart of a pomegranate

are proof enough that a country can coagulate in our hands.

It being clearly understood that every image of Elysium came from somewhere;

that inside every heaven there is an earth we’ve mourned the loss of.

It being clearly understood that wandering,

itself, can become a type of home.

It being clearly understood that there was never a Palestinian people, came from

the mouth of a settler who, when asked where are you from, replied Chicago.

It being clearly understood that the settler’s father

was “Palestinian” by his own definition.

It being clearly understood that, in his childhood, Sido would wander

the streets of Jerusalem with his Jewish neighbors every morning.

It being clearly understood that

they fell out of touch.

It being clearly understood that, while the gazelle is the most Palestinian thing to

write about, I’ve never seen one. I’m starting to think we made them up.

It being a clearly understood


It being clearly understood that

Israel’s Right To Exist.

It being clearly understood that, when our cathedrals & mosques were

burning, there was never anything to mourn.

It being clearly understood that our churches were built before

their ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors knew Christianity existed.

It being clearly understood that the church will use their best endeavors

to facilitate the achievement of this object.

It being clearly understood that this object,

which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing

which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing in Palestine.

It being clearly understood that


It being clearly understood that His Majesty’s Government views with favor.

The establishment in. Any other country.

It being clearly


It being clear.


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