Arabic Language Blog

Pause and Enjoy Every Moment of Your Life Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba! In a previous post I introduced you all to the beautiful poetry of the late Mahmoud Darwish. I shared his famous poem “To My Mother,” which the accomplished oud player Marcel Khalife made into a beautiful song. Today, I am sharing another beautiful poem by Darwish called لا شيء يعجبني which literally means Nothing Impresses Me. I have added a YouTube video of Darwish reciting the poem with beautiful Arabic music in the background. I have also added the lyrics in Arabic and translated them into English for you to follow with the poem. This is by far one of the most impressive and profound poems written by any Arab poet in our modern times.

محمود درويش – لا شيء يعجبني

Mahmoud Darwish – Nothing Impresses Me

يقول مسافرٌ في الباصِ .. لا شيءَ يُعْجبُني

A passenger on the bus says… nothing impresses me

لا الراديو  و لا صُحُفُ الصباح , و لا القلاعُ على التلال. أُريد أن أبكي

Not the radio, nor morning newspapers, nor even fortresses on hills. I want to weep

يقول السائقُ: انتظرِ الوصولَ إلى المحطَّةِ, وابْكِ وحدك ما استطعتَ

The bus driver says: Wait until we reach the station, and weep alone as much as you can

تقول سيّدةٌ: أَنا أَيضاً. أنا لا شيءَ يُعْجبُني. دَلَلْتُ اُبني على قبري’ فأعْجَبَهُ ونامَ’ ولم يُوَدِّعْني

A lady says: Me too. Nothing impresses me. I pointed out my grave to my son, he enjoyed it and slept without bidding me farewell

يقول الجامعيُّ: ولا أَنا ‘ لا شيءَ يعجبني. دَرَسْتُ الأركيولوجيا دون أَن أَجِدَ الهُوِيَّةَ في الحجارة. هل أنا حقاً أَنا؟

A university student says: Me neither, nothing impresses me. I studied archeology without finding an identity in stones. Am I really me?

ويقول جنديٌّ: أَنا أَيضاً. أَنا لا شيءَ يُعْجبُني . أُحاصِرُ دائماً شَبَحاً يُحاصِرُني

A solider says: Me too. Nothing impresses me. I encircle a ghost that always haunts me

يقولُ السائقُ العصبيُّ: ها نحن اقتربنا من محطتنا الأخيرة’ فاستعدوا للنزول

The angry driver says: We are close to our last stop, get ready to get down…

فيصرخون: نريدُ ما بَعْدَ المحطَّةِ’ .. فانطلق

Everyone screams: We want what is beyond the station, so move

أمَّا أنا فأقولُ: أنْزِلْني هنا . أنا مثلهم لا شيء يعجبني ‘ ولكني تعبتُ من السِّفَرْ

I say: Drop me here. I am like them, nothing impresses me, but I am tired from traveling

Even though this seems a sad poem, I find it to be beautiful especially in the way Darwish depicts (يصف) life. It’s a poem that powerfully and adequately describes how many individuals, including myself, feel at various points of our lives. We might feel overwhelmed, sad, happy, angry, betrayed, hatting our job, or simply just tired of everything, and feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But then the people we are with and the small little joys make us enjoy life more and make us feel like exactly how Darwish concludes the poem. This feeling that many of us encounter that: today, we are fine, better than yesterday and maybe tomorrow, so we need to pause and enjoy every moment of life and feel satisfied with what we have and achieved. At least that is how I tend to see things.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts.

Have a nice day!

نهاركم سعيد

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.


  1. David:

    Today is my birthday and you have offered me the special gift of this poem.
    شكرًا et merci.

    • jesa:

      @David You’re most welcome! Happy Birthday David!
      عيد ميلاد سعيد ديفيد

  2. Aisha:

    Hi Jesa!
    I am a bit confused with ‘ما استطعتَ’
    I thought ‘ما’ meant ‘no’ as in ‘ma tetkallam’ or ‘ma biddi’
    Thank you!