3.17 AM Monday, 22 April 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:29 05:47 12:20 15:47 18:48 20:06
22 April 2024

Palestinian poet in exile cries for lost village

By Staff

Well-known Palestinian poet Mahmoud Said Nueimeh has suffered from exile and estrangement for more than 50 years when his tiny village in North Palestine was seized by Israel in the 1948 war against the Arabs.

He went into exile in nearby Lebanon when he was a child and lived there until he was nearly 60 years old. A few years ago, he was forced to go into a second exile when he travelled to Denmark to escape Israeli strikes on Lebanon and internal hostilities.

Nueimeh, in his 70s, has written many poems in Arabic and English, covering various subjects including Palestine, his family, his agony after he was expelled from Palestine along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and other topics.

Nueimeh is from Mirun, a small hilltop village in North Palestine that was seized and destroyed along with many other Palestinian villages and towns by the Israelis.

His latest poem this week reflects deep pain, sadness and agony as nostalgia overcomes him and he yearns for his birthplace.

“Mirun is my home, my village, my land,  my family, my history and my heritage…it is engraved in my heart and brain,” he told Emirates 24/7 by phone from Denmark.

“Wherever I go or live, I will never forget  my village…it is my body and soul…it is my past, present and future…it is part of the beloved Palestine.”

His latest poem, which he dedicates to Mirun and his late parents, is entitled  ‘A Letter from the Exile.…a painful cry from a foreigner in the outland.’

No No
I am not there
No... I am not there
Not anymore
I was there
Now I am here
Here... in a revolting world
Sad, gloomy
Senseless, merciless
And unloving
In a world drenched with frets
Sorrows and boredom
Choked by dullness
Ample of monotony
Aimless and hopeless
With no beginning and no end
Strident with cries
And pain
Drenched with grief
Now I am here
In a world of cries
A strange world
Feeding from the earth
Kissing the pebbles
Spending long nights
Playing my chords
Contemplating the moon
And barely closing my eyes
The nights of my foreignness are long
Killing the daylight
Filled with gloom
Cursing every grain of earth
Cursing stones, trees, people
Before now, I was there
On the hills of my village
With my fellow men
Uphill where the earth
Held my glory, my breath
My splendour
I was in Mirun
Where lie my origins
My identity, my people
My place of prayer
Where my flock crawled
Before now, I was there
Hopeful and joyful
Singing gleefully
Not knowing grief
Or tears of pain
Or cries or wails
Before now, I was there
Ambitious and optimistic
My path was long
Embracing the echoes in the way
Embracing my very roots
With blissful yearns
There was no sound
But a lover’s beautiful hymn
Now I am here
Not there anymore
I am here
Embracing my pillow
Sleeping mournfully
In a world not of my own
A vast and wide world
I wish it were smaller
I have no other choice
But to embrace my pillow
Lie in my bed
Eat the soil, kiss the stones
My mind and soul overwhelmed by shrieks
They lower in tone
And suddenly holler the voice of destiny
Now I am here, in the world of riches
The world of the oppressors
Where the music of shrilling drums pierces ears
Now I am here… here I am
Though I will never ever
Not in a million years
Feed from the earth
Nor kiss the stones
In this fraud world
Strange, odd
That belittles the wise
Uses the learned and clever
And disheartens a lover.