The Horse Fell Off the Poem

By Mahmoud Darwish 1942–2008 Mahmoud Darwish

Translated By Fady Joudah

The horse fell off the poem
and the Galilean women were wet
with butterflies and dew,
dancing above chrysanthemum

The two absent ones: you and I
you and I are the two absent ones

A pair of white doves
chatting on the branches of a holm oak

No love, but I love ancient
love poems that guard
the sick moon from smoke

I attack and retreat, like the violin in quatrains
I get far from my time when I am near
the topography of place ...

There is no margin in modern language left
to celebrate what we love,
because all that will be ... was

The horse fell bloodied
with my poem
and I fell bloodied
with the horse’s blood ...

Mahmoud Darwish, "The Horse Fell Off the Poem" from The Butterfly’s Burden. Copyright © 2008 by Mahmoud Darwish, English translation by Fady Joudah.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: The Butterfly’s Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Mahmoud Darwish 1942–2008

POET’S REGION Middle East

Subjects Love, Poetry & Poets

 Mahmoud  Darwish

Biography

Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish was born in al-Birwa in Galilee, a village that was occupied and later razed by the Israeli army. Because they had missed the official Israeli census, Darwish and his family were considered “internal refugees” or “present-absent aliens.” Darwish lived for many years in exile in Beirut and Paris. He is the author of over 30 books of poetry and eight books of prose, and earned the Lannan Cultural . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION Middle East

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.