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Philip Terman: Darwish and Amichai Share Poems in Heaven

So let’s be an open hand,
one of them says, offering our time
to the Gods.  
     The other responds:
Even a fist was an open palm
with five fingers.  
     And it goes on
like this, year after year, age
after age, these two souls hovering,
     indistinguishable in the light,
reciting their spirit-selves one
after the other, no longer grieving
     their respective exiles, 
the breath of their words 
shaping the winds
across the deserts 
of their homeland,
     which is the same homeland, 
and now they recite together, 
     each listening hard 
to the other’s language. 

Copyright 2019 Philip Terman

Yehuda Amichai (born Ludwig Pfeuffer, 1924 – 2000) was an Israeli poet. Amichai is considered, both in Israel and internationally, as Israel’s greatest modern poet, and one of the leading poets worldwide. He was one of the first to write in colloquial Hebrew.

Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008) was widely regarded as the Palestinian national poet. Darwish used Palestine as a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He is often credited with reviving the tradition of the political poet in Islam.

For an extended comparison and contrast of the poetry of Yehuda Amichai and Mahmoud Darwish, click here.

Mahmoud Darwish (left), Yehuda Amichai (right)

One comment on “Philip Terman: Darwish and Amichai Share Poems in Heaven

  1. Saleh Razzouk
    December 22, 2019

    Good poem. Reconciliation in here is a human drama not between men and destiny but between desire and reality. It is another sign of politics when enters the circle of mythical existence.

    Liked by 2 people

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