Tuesday, 15 March 2011


by Iyad Hayatleh

From dawn to dusk
I go without food and water
and have no sense of hunger
for hunger is not the hunger of stomachs;
it is the longing
longing of lovers to be with their beloved;
it’s the yearning
yearning of the homeless to return to the land
where memories for six decades
fall asleep on a promise,
the promised return of the dream
on the wings of the nightingale.

Years rush behind years
like clouds hiding days of deep grief
of exile
in waving layers
to leave only the evening of life
and tears of the stranger
with few remaining wishes.
O powerful night
please lift the veil of the sky
and bring glad tidings to the flood of worshippers,
to my family and my people,
tidings of the bright morning coming soon
with blessing for the whole world.

My love
my God, the Lord of heaven and earth
knower of things unseen
the affectionate, the merciful, the gracious, the greatest,
for you I fast my long day
to you I pray my solemn night.
May I win some approval from you
and may you remove from my shoulders the burden of sin.
Cleanse my soul for thirty days with the beauty of forbearance
and let me reach the day of Eid
a new person, with a new dress.

Translated by Tessa Ransford with the poet, Iyad Hayatleh

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