Rashid Hussein: Without a Passport (From Arabic)

Rashid Hussein was born in 1936 what is today Israel, and died in 1977 in New York City when his apartment caught fire. A week later he was buried in his ancestral home in Galilee thanks to the efforts of his friends in Israel. 

Without a Passport
By Rashid Hussein
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Arabic

I was born without a passport,
I grew up
And saw my country turn
Into prisons, without a passport.

So I sowed.
I raised a country in every house,
Raised a sun
And wheat.
In every house, I nurtured trees. I learned
To write leaves of verse
To make the people of my village happy,
Happy without a passport.

He whose land is stolen, I learned,
Has no love for the rain
And if he returns to it, he shall return
Home without a passport.
But I am tired of the minds that have turned
Into a single chain
Of motels for yearnings that can't give birth
Save with a passport.

Without a passport
I came to you
And rose against you.
So take me, slaughter me in return
And then perhaps I will feel myself dying
Dying without a passport.


The Original:


‎بدون جواز سفر

‎بدونِ جوازِ سفر
‎ولِدت
‎ُكَبِرْت
‎رأيت بلادي تصير سجونا
‎بدونِ جواز سفر
‎فربّيتُ في كل بيتٍ بلادا
‎وشَمسا
‎وقَمحا
‎وربّيتُ فيها شجر
‎تعلّمتُ أن أكتُبَ الشعرَ
‎أن أجعلَ الناسَ في قَريَتي يَفرَحونْ
‎بدون جواز سفر

‎تعلّمت أن الذي سُرِقَت أرضُه لا يحبُّ المطرْ
‎وإن عاد يوما إليها , يعودُ
‎بدونِ جواز سفر

‎ولكنني أتْعَبتْني العُقولُ التي أصْبَحَت
‎فنادقَ للأُمْنياتِ التي لا تَلِدْ
‎سوى بجواز سفر
‎بدون جواز سفر
‎أتَيتُ اليكمْ
‎وثُرتُ عليكُمْ
‎فقوموا اذبحوني
‎لعلي أحِسُّ بأني أموتُ
‎بدونِ جواز سفر

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