Arabic Language Blog

The story of a poem Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Arabic Language, Culture

 This post tells the story of a very famous poem by the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish,  called ‘To My Mother’ (إلى أمي). It was originally called an apology to my mother.

Mahmoud Darwish tells that he had 3 brothers and 3 sisters, and he was the middle son. When older siblings are given duties, he was considered one of them, and when younger siblings are told off, he was considered one of them. Eventually, he started to resent his position in the family and he did not appreciate how much his mother loved him, until he was arrested by the Israeli forces and entered into prison. His mother came to see him in prison and brought for him bread that she baked and coffee that she prepared especially for him, but they refused to take these things to him. When she eventually was allowed to see him, she hugged him and cried and he felt sorry for the way he felt about her before and decided to write this poem to her and he called it ” A Poem of Apology”.

 قصيدة إعتذار

أحن إلى خبز أمي

وقهوة أمي

ولمسة أمي

وتكبر في الطفولة

يوماً على صدر يومِ

وأعشق عمري لأني

إذا متُّ، أخجل من دمع أمي !

خذيني، إذا عدتُ يوماً

وشاحاً لهدبك

وغطّي عظامي بعشب

تعمَّد من طهر كعبكِ

وشُدِّي وثاقي ..

بخصلة شعرٍ

بخيطٍ يلوِّح في ذيل ثوبكِ ..

ضعيني، إذا ما رجعت

وقوداً بتنور نارك ..

وحبل غسيلٍ على سطح داركِ

لأني فقدت الوقوف

بدون صلاة نهاركِ

هرمت، فردِّي نجوم الطفولة

حتى أشارك

صغار العصافير

درب الرجوع .. لعشِّ إنتظاركِ !

The poem was then changed to a beautiful song by Marcel Khalife.

Can you understand the lines of the poem? Can you sing along with Marcel Khalife?


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  1. Mumtaz:

    Oh I love this poem, and the song associated with it. It’s funny that I never knew it’s called “A poem of apology: قصيدة اعتذار” until now. It’s known as “I yearn for my mother’s bread: أحن إلى خبز أمي”. Needless to say that it puts tears in my eyes everytime I listen to it. Thank you for posting it, Miriam.