Your voice, sweet as the river’s, is asking, 
“Why do you circle around me, then leave?” 
I exclaim: 
“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 
of falsehoods, 
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

of beginnings, 
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.