Your voice, sweet as the river’s, is asking,
“Why do you circle around me, then leave?”
“Here are your eyes, paving for my eyes
a road to knowledge.
Down with Knowledge!
We need transformations to the opposite
to death, rancor, and desperate moments.”
Your eyes beseech—
and I glimpse a light in them
that views transformation as something strange.
I answer their question:
“When the distance between truths is a sea
I declare I have lost the truth
because I cure my cowardice with cowardice.
I neither advance nor retreat
but travel by staying in my place
fighting a sea of death
and yearning for the decisive moment!
Between darkness and truth
I struggle for balance
on the edge of the deadly chasm.
Behind me, there’s the end of something gone.
In front, the end of something that will begin.
And so I remain, struggling at the point
struggling with a frightening thing.”
I need the courage of a child to advance …
But I am no more a child!
Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye
Source: Jayyusi, S. K. ed., 1992. Poetry. In: Anthology of Modern Palestinian Lietrature. s.l.:Columbia University Press, pp.262-263.