Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance - Carl Sandburg..........Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject - John Keats .........Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge - William Wordsworth ..........Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand - Plato .........No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language - Samuel Taylor Coleridge .........One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves - W. H. Auden ...........Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash - Leonard Cohen .........There is a pleasure in poetic pains which only poets know - William Cowper .........Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood -T. S. Eliot ..........Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason - Novalis...........He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life - George Sand .........A poem is never finished, only abandoned - Paul Valery ........A poet is a bird of unearthly excellence, who escapes from his celestial realm arrives in this world warbling. If we do not cherish him, he spreads his wings and flies back into his homeland - Kahlil Gibran.............Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance - John Keats..........To be a poet is a condition, not a profession - Robert Frost........A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself - E. M. Forster.........Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo - Don Marquis...........Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things - T. S. Eliot ..........You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick. You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in - Dylan Thomas .........Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words - Paul Engle......... There is not a joy the world can give like that it takes away! Lord Byron

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish dies

 

By Mohammed Assadi and Ali Sawafta Sat Aug 9, 5:43 PM ET  - Reuters

Nadwah - Hong Kong - 9 August 2008

 

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Mahmoud Darwish, whose poetry his fellow Palestinians embraced as the voice of their suffering, died on Saturday after heart surgery in Texas.

President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of national mourning to honor the 67-year-old writer who, a close friend said, never came round from a major operation two days earlier.

"The passing of our great poet, Mahmoud Darwish, the lover of Palestine, the pioneer of the modern Palestinian cultural project, and the brilliant national leader, will leave a great gap in our political, cultural and national lives," Abbas said.

"Words cannot describe the depth of sadness in our hearts," he added. "Mahmoud, may God help us for your loss."

The death of a man whose life and words were tightly bound up in a struggle for a Palestinian national rebirth that seems little closer now than when his first work was published in 1960 immediately triggered a wider outpouring of popular emotion.

As news from Houston filtered through, people, some weeping, gathered round candles in the darkened streets of Ramallah. The poet had made his home in the West Bank city since returning in the 1990s from a long exile during which he rose to prominence in Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Palestinian television interrupted programs to air film of Darwish, the "national poet," reading from his work. Officials said his body would be flown back for burial in Ramallah.

He won new generations of admirers with work that evoked the pain of Palestinians displaced, as he was as a child, by the establishment of Israel 60 years ago, but also did not shrink from criticism and touched on broader human themes, like love.

An intensely private man who largely lived alone, he enjoyed a mass following across the Arab world, where he had the kind of readership contemporary poets in other languages only dream of.

Palestinians at home and abroad spoke of intense, personal feelings of bereavement. "His death is a loss to the Palestinian people, to the Palestinian cause and to freedom-loving people around the world," said Ahmad Ibrahim, a banker in Ramallah.

Philosophy professor Abdel-Rahim al-Sheikh was choked with emotion: "I cannot speak now. My soul is not helping me."

EXILE

Just last month Darwish packed out a hall for a reading in Ramallah and millions watched on television an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian "Nakba," or catastrophe.

In 1948, Darwish was among that half of the Arab population of Palestine driven from their homes, in his family's case near the port of Haifa. They later returned to live in the area.

Jailed several times, Darwish left in 1971 for the Soviet Union. Exile in Cairo, Beirut, Tunis and Paris followed.

In 1988, Israel's parliament debated one work which incensed Israelis who saw an attack on the existence of the Jewish state -- though Darwish said he wanted an end only to their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: "So leave our land. Our shore, our sea. Our wheat, our salt, our wound," he had written.

"Take your portion from our blood and go away."

In 2000, an Israeli minister proposed adding Darwish to the school curriculum -- but the proposal went no further.

Darwish served on the executive committee of the PLO but broke with Arafat when the two disagreed over the 1993 Oslo accords on establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Fifteen years on, negotiations appear to most observers to be going nowhere. Violence, a split between Abbas and his Islamist rivals in Gaza and continued Israeli settlement in the West Bank leave few Palestinians hopeful of a viable state.

Last month, Darwish, a heavy smoker who had twice before undergone major heart surgery, spoke to Reuters of his fading health and his gloomy assessment of the world he would leave.

His last works are imbued with a sarcastic humor and a sense of both Israelis and Palestinians, however antagonistic, bound irredeemably together to share an uncertain future.

"Sarcasm helps me overcome the harshness of the reality we live, eases the pain of scars and makes people smile," he said.

"History laughs at both the victim and the aggressor."

In a new poem called "The Written Script," Darwish related a dialogue between a victim and his enemy who fall into a pit:

He saw Israelis bent on suicide, taking Palestinians with them, if the occupation of the West Bank went on: "A killer and his victim die together in one hole," he says in the piece.

Another recent poem "The Dice Thrower," told how Darwish saw death coming yet he clung to life: "To Life I say: Go slow, wait for me until the drunkenness dries in my glass.

"I have no role in what I was or who I will be.

"It is chance and chance has no name.

"I call the doctor 10 minutes before the death, 10 minutes are sufficient to live by chance."

(Additional reporting by Wafa Amr, Joseph Nasr and Houston bureau; Writing by Alastair Macdonald)

 

 

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