The Horse Fell Off the Poem

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.
Source: The Butterfly’s Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)
More Poems by Mahmoud Darwish