The Butterfly's Burden


?Mahmoud Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of images that invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world?s whole heart. What he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world?his in an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.??Naomi Shihab Nye

Mahmoud Darwish is the leading poet in the Arab world, an artist and activist who attracts thousands to his ...

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“Mahmoud Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of images that invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world’s whole heart. What he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world—his in an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Mahmoud Darwish is the leading poet in the Arab world, an artist and activist who attracts thousands to his public readings.

The Butterfly's Burden combines the complete text of Darwish's two most recent full-length volumes, linked by the stunning memoir-witness poem “A State of Siege.” Love poems, sonnets, journal-like distillations, and interlaced lyrics balance old literary traditions with new forms, highlighting loving reflections alongside bitter longing.

From Sonnet [V]

I touch you as a lonely violin touches the suburbs of the faraway place.
Patiently the river asks for its share of the drizzle.
And, bit by bit, a tomorrow passing in poems approaches
so I carry faraway’s land and it carries me on the road.

Mahmoud Darwish is the author of 30 books of poetry and prose, as well as the Palestinian Declaration of Independence. He has worked as a journalist, was director of the Palestinian Research Center, and lived in exile until his return to Palestine in 1996. He has received many international awards for his poetry.

Translator Fady Joudah is a physician based in Houston, Texas. His first book of poems received the Yale Younger Poets prize.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556592416
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Language: Arabic
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 327
  • Sales rank: 447,896
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mahmoud Darwish is the Poet Laureate of Palestine and the author of the Palestinian national anthem. Author of over twenty books, he was awarded the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. Fady Joudah is a Palestinian-American doctor based in Houston, Texas, and is active in Doctors Without Borders. He earned an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College, and his original poetry and translations have appeared in a wide range of publications.

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Table of Contents

We were missing a present 5
Sonnet I 11
Low sky 13
We walk on the bridge 19
Your night is of lilac 23
Sonnet II 25
The stranger stumbles upon himself in the stranger 27
A cloud from Sodom 29
A doe's young twins 31
Sonnet III 33
Take my horse and slaughter it ... 35
The stranger's land / the serene land 37
Inanna's milk 41
Sonnet IV 45
No more and no less 47
Wedding song 51
Housework 55
Sonnet V 59
Two stranger birds in our feathers 61
I waited for no one 65
Drought 69
Sonnet VI 73
The subsistence of birds 75
Maybe, because winter is late 79
Who am I, without exile? 89
Jameel Bouthaina and I 93
A mask ... for Majnoon Laila 97
A lesson from Kama Sutra 101
The Damascene collar of the dove 105
"Here, by the downslope of hills, facing the sunset" 121
Cadence chooses me 179
I have the wisdom of one condemned to death 181
Another day will come 183
And I, even if I were the last 185
In my mother's house 187
Don't apologize for what you've done 189
On a day like today 191
Set down, here, and now 193
If you return alone 195
I didn't apologize to the well 197
No banner in the wind 199
The horse fell off the poem 201
To our land 203
And we have a land 205
Nothing but light 207
The beloved hemorrhaged anemones 209
In Jerusalem 211
In her absence I created her image 213
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 215
Two olive trees 217
They don't look behind them 221
They didn't ask : what's after death 223
Murdered and unknown 225
The cypress broke 227
A man and a fawn are in the garden 229
This is forgetfulness 233
You'll be forgotten, as if you never were 235
As for me, I say to my name 239
Dream, what is it? 241
Now, when you awaken, remember 243
The shadow 245
Nothing pleases me 247
He's calm, and I am too 249
Describing clouds 251
A noun sentence 255
Say what you want 257
Don't write history as poetry 259
What will remain? 261
I don't know your name 263
She's alone in the evening 265
While waiting 269
If I were another 271
Thanks to Tunis 273
I have a seat in the abandoned theater 275
In Syria 277
In Egypt 279
I recall al-Sayyab 281
"A road that leads to Egypt and Syria" 285
"I walked on what remains of the heart" 291
"Standing together beneath a window" 299
"In Pablo Neruda's home, on the Pacific" 307
"The Kurd remembers, when I visit him, his tomorrow" 315
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