Leaving Palestine (poem)
Whisper what in this life have I left, Mother?
Please don’t try to hold me back
In seeking dreams of promise I cannot go East or West, Brother
Please, don’t hold me down
There are no silver flights from here, Mother
So chained are my legs upon this sorrowed ground
Gilded vessels have no arrival to our shore, Brother
Anchored firm are we to shallows in the sound
Whisper what have I left in this life, Mother?
Nothing but futures of young now draw me on
In promises and dreams I cannot go North or South, Brother
Embarkation roads are only barriers now
Sleek paved routes belong to someone else, Mother
Our blood of decades spills and soaks in ancient sand
No one comes triumphant here to set us free, Brother
Fading clock ticks our end upon this dying land
Cold walls they’ve built all around, Mother
Yet I can hear so many living sounds
Life exists fully on another side, Brother
Life muted in our crumpled towns
Mother, what have they left that I can hold?
If not yet taken then a taking marked by time
Brother, what have I left that I can give?
Always a hand in waiting between us
Brother, whatever else can I do than this?
Trust in Allah’s outstretched welcome arms
Mother, kiss this bruised forehead one last time
I welcome the sting of their merciless harms
Some choose to die in service to life, Brother
Others choose to live in service to death.
Forever we are Palestinians, Mother
I choose the former be my last breath
Be brave for me in the face of what remains, Brother
Ever more so when punishment follows my erasure
Brave, too, be you, beloved Mother
Regret for this, hearts left with only tears
–m. dennis paul