Poet's Choice: 'I Have Behind the Sky a Sky' by Fady Joudah

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By Fady Joudah
Sunday, December 20, 2009

This poem is part of a long sequence, "Eleven Planets at the End of the Andalusian Scene," that Mahmoud Darwish wrote in 1992 to commemorate the 500th year of the expulsion of Arabs and Jews from Granada, Spain. The poem is followed by another epic that takes us across the Atlantic where we listen to "The 'Red Indian's' Penultimate Speech," but not before Darwish lays out his vision of what happens after time proclaims a new end or a new beginning. This poem is remarkable if only for invoking the spirit of reciprocity and love with the poetry of the early 20th-century writer Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca. There is a circular bond between these two great poets, who borrowed from the same well of language in the way love drinks from a "bedouin moon."

(Editor's note: To see this poem laid out correctly on paper or on your screen, click the Print button in the Toolbox.)

I Have Behind the Sky a Sky

I have behind the sky a sky for my return, but I

am still polishing the metal of this place, and living

an hour that foresees the unknown. I know time

will not be my ally twice, and I know I will exit

my banner as a bird that does not alight on trees in the garden.

I will exit all of my skin, and my language.

And some talk about love will descend in

Lorca poems that will live in my bedroom

and see what I have seen of the bedouin moon. I will exit


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