On Mahmoud Darwish’s Birthday: A New Translation of ‘The Second Olive Tree’

A new translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s “The Second Olive Tree.”

Arabic Literature (in English)

On the anniversary of the birth of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1942-2008), poet Marilyn Hacker shares a new translation:

The Second Olive Tree

By Mahmoud Darwish

Translated by Marilyn Hacker

The olive tree does not weep and does not laugh. The olive tree
Is the hillside’s modest lady. Shadow
Covers her one leg, and she will not take her leaves off in front of the storm.
Standing, she is seated, and seated, standing.
She lives as a friendly sister of eternity, neighbor of time
That helps her stock her luminous oil and
Forget the invaders’ names, except the Romans, who
Coexisted with her, and borrowed some of her branches
To weave wreaths. They did not treat her as a prisoner of war
But as a venerable grandmother, before whose calm dignity
Swords shatter. In her reticent silver-green
Color hesitates to say what it thinks, and to look at what…

View original post 186 more words

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About Taline Voskeritchian

Writing teacher at Boston University; translator (from Arabic and Armenian); prose writer; occasional editor; incurable wanderer.
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