Mahmoud Darwish: We Travel Like Anyone Else (From Arabic)

We Travel Like Anyone Else
Mahmoud Darwish

We travel like anyone else, but do not return to anything
         as if travelling
Were the way of the clouds. We buried our loved ones deep
         in the shadow of the clouds and among the trunks of the trees.
We told our wives: bear our offspring for centuries,
        that we may reach our journey's end and see
A moment of a country, a meter of what can't be.
In the carriages of the psalms we travel, in the tent of the prophets we sleep, 
         we come out of the words the gypsies speak.
We measure space with a hoopoe's beak 
         or sing to while the distance away or wash the moonlight clear.
Long is your path, so dream of seven women to bear this long path on
Your shoulders. Shake the palmtree for each one
         to know her name and which shall be
                  the mother of the boy from Galilee.
Ours is a country of words. Speak, speak, 
         that I may lay my road on stone of stone to something. 
Ours is a country of words. Speak speak 
         that we may know the end of this travelling. 

The Original:

نسافر كالناس
محمود درويش

نُسافِرُ كَالنَّاسِ، لَكنَّنا لاَ نَعُودُ إلَى أي شيْءِ... كَأَنَّ السَّفَرْ
طريقُ الغُيُومِ، دَفَنَّا احِبَّتنا في ظِلاَل الغُيُوم وَبَيْنَ جُذُوع الشَّجَرْ
وقُلْنَا لِزوْجَاتِنَا: لِدْنَ مِنَّا مَئَات السَّنين لِنُكملَ هَذَا الرَّحِيلْ
إلى سَاعَةٍ مِنْ بِلادٍ وَمتْرٍ من المُسْتَحيلْ
نُسَافِرُ في عَرَبَات المَزَامير
نَرْقُدُ في خَيمْةِ الأَنْبيَاءِ ونَخْرُجُ مِنْ كَلِمَاتِ الغَجَرْ
نَقيسُ الفَضَاء بِمِنْقَار هُدْهُدَةٍ أو نُغَنِّي لنُلْهي المَسَافَةَ عَنَّا وَنَغْسل ضوءَ القَمَرْ
طَويلٌ طَريِقُك فَاحْلُمْ بِسَبْع نسَاءٍ لتَحْمِل هَذَا الطَّريقَ الطَّوِيلْ
عَلَى كَتِفَيْكَ وَهُزَّ لَهُنَّ النَّخِيل
لِتَعْرف أَسْمَاءَهُنَّ وَمِنْ أَيِّ أُمَّ سَيُولَدُ طِفْلُ الجليلْ
لَنَا بَلَدٌ من كَلاَمٍ تَكَلَّمْ تَكَلَّمْ لأُسْنِد دَرْبي عَلَى حَجَرٍ مِنْ حَجَرْ
لَنَا بَلَدٌ مِنْ كَلاَمٍ تَكَلِّمْ تَكلَّمْ لِنَعْرفَ حَدّاً لِهذَا السَّفَرْ!



Romanization:

Nusāfiru ka-l-nāsi, lākinnanā lā naˁūdu ilā ayyi šay'in...ka'anna l-safar
Ṭarīqu l-ɣuyūmi, dafannā aħibbatanā fī ẓilāmi l-ɣuyūmi wa-bayna juðūˁi l-šajar
Wa-qulnā li-zawjātinā: lidna minnā mi'āta l-sanīna li-nukmila hāðā l-raħīl
Ilā sāˁatin min bilādin, wa-mitrin min al-mustaħīl
Nusāfiru fī ˁarabāti l-mazāmīr,  
narqudu fī xaymati l-'anbiyā'i wa-naxruju min kalimāti l-ɣajar
Naqīsu l-faḍā'a bi-minqāri hudhudatin aw nuɣannī li-nulhī l-masāfata ˁannā wa-naɣsilu ḍaw'a l-qamar
Ṭawīlun ṭarīquka fa-ħlum bi-sabˁi nisā'in li-taħmila hāðā l-ṭarīqa l-ṭawīl
ˁalā katifayka wa-huzza la-hunna l-naxīl 
Li-taˁrifa asma'ahunna wa-min ayyi ummin sa-yūladu ṭiflu l-jalīl
lanā baladun min kalāmin. Takallam, takallam li-'usnida darbī ˁalā ħajarin min ħajar
lanā baladun min kalāmin. Takallam, takallam li-naˁrifa ħaddan li-hāðā l-safar

3 comments:

  1. Other translations cite the first line as "We travel like other people" - could you explain why you chose something slightly different? 

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's more idiomatic, and more in keeping with the way the expression is used in Arabic. It is not the fact that other people travel, so much as the normalcy of that fact that is being foregrounded in the text. 

    ReplyDelete
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