This Distant Light
by Walid Khazindar
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
winter clings to the naked trees.
If only you would free
the bright sparrows
from your fingertips
and release a smile―that shy, tentative smile―
from the imprisoned anguish I see.
Sing! Can we not sing
as if we were warm, hand-in-hand,
sheltered by shade from a sweltering sun?
Can you not always remain this way,
stoking the fire: more beautiful than expected, in reverie?
Darkness increases and we must remain vigilant
since this distant light is our sole consolation ...
this imperiled flame, which from the beginning
has constantly flickered,
in danger of going out.
Come to me, closer and closer.
I don't want to be able to tell my hand from yours.
And let's stay awake, lest the snow smother us.
Walid Khazindar was born in Gaza City. He is considered to be one of the very best Palestinian poets; his poetry has been said to be "characterized by metaphoric originality and a novel thematic approach unprecedented in Arabic poetry." He was awarded the first Palestine Prize for Poetry in 1997. Keywords/Tags: Arabic, translation, Arab, Palestine, Palestinian, Gaza, distant, light, flame, fire, autumn, winter, trees, birds, sparrows, fingertips, smile, sing, shade, sun, fire, darkness, hand, hands, snow