Monday, May 28, 2007

Brother by Lebanese poet Mikha'il Nu`aymah--he wrote it in 1917--(I have written about him in an earlier post and about my meeting with him at the age of 12) (my translation):
"Brother, if a Westerner brags
after the war about his exploits,
and if he honors the memory of
the dead and glorifies the violence
his heroes,
Do not celebrate those who prevailed,
and do not despise those who fell,
but bow down like me, with a bloodied
and modest heart
to cry over the lot of our dead
Brother, if a soldiers returns home
after the war
to his homeland
and if he throws his exhausted body
in the lap of his kinsfolk,
Do not ask if you return home
for kinsfolk
Because hunger did not leave us
but the ghosts of our dead
to converse with
Brother, if a farmer returns home
to till the land,
and to build after a long absence
a hut destroyed by a cannon
our streams have dried up,
and humiliation smashed our
and the enemy only left us
the corpses of our dead
as plants in the land
Brother, what happened would
not have happened without our will,
misery has spread, and we could
have prevented it
Do not mourn, the ears of others
do not hear our grievances
But follow me, to dig a trench
with a shovel
to bury our dead
Brother, who are we? No homeland,
no folks, and no neighbor
If we sleep, if we rise up, we are
covered with shame and dishonor
Life has stunk with us, as it has
with our dead
Bring the shovel and follow me
to dig another trench,
to bury our living..."