Monday, January 21, 2008

Southern Dawn

Written by Pasolini, this is one of best poems on Palestine, or whatever remains of it.

I was walking near the hotel in the evening
when four or five boys appeared
on the field's tiger fur,
with no cliff, ditch, vegetation
to take cover from possible bullets--for
Israel was there, on the same tiger fur
specked with cement-block houses, useless
walls, like all slums.
I happened on them at that absurd point
far from street, hotel,
border. It was one of countless such
friendships, which last an evening
then torture the rest of your life. They,
disinherited and, what's more, sons
(possessing the knowledge the disinherited
have of evil-burglary, robbery, lying--
and the naive ideal sons have
of feeling consecrated to the world),
deep in their eyes, right off, was the old
light of love, almost gratitude.
And talking, talking till
night came( already one was embracing me,
saying now he hated me, now, no, he loved me,
loved me ) they told me everything about themselves,
every simple thing. These were gods
or sons of gods, mysteriously shooting because
of a hate that would push them down from
the clay hills like bloodthirsty bridegrooms upon
the invading kibbutzim on the other side of Jerusalem ....
These ragged urchins, who sleep in open air now
at the edge of a slum field--
with elder brothers, soldiers armed with
old rifles, mustached like those
destined to die the ancient deaths of mercenaries--
These are the Jordanians, terror of Israel,
weeping before my eyes
the ancient grief of refugees. One of them,
sworn to a hate that's already almost bourgeois ( to blackmailing
moralism,, to nationalism that has paled with neurotic
fury ), sings to me the old refrain
learned from his radio, from his kings--
another, in his rags, listens, agreeing,
while puppylike he presses close to me,
not showing, in a slum field
of the Jordan's desert, in the world,
anything but love's poor simple feeling.

Translated by Norman Macafee.


billoo said...

Kubla, thought you might like this

Kubla Khan said...

thanks Billoo. i have read Prisioner of love a few years ago.
you may want to read an essay on Genet by Said, in his On late style. i thought the Pasolini poem was better than even some of Adonis' though Darwish has written some terribly beautiful poems too.
with pasolini, the imaghery is never flowery or unrealistic but a part of his world wherein justice, faith, unfaith, madness and every other feeling finds expression.