Mahmoud Darwish
We Have the Right to Love Autumn

translated, from the Arabic, by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché


And we, too, have the right to love the last days of authumn and ask the grove:

Is there room now for a new autumn so we may lie down like coals?

Like gold, autumn brings its leaves to half-staff.

If only we never said goodbye to the fundamentals

and questioned our fathers when they fled at knife-point.

May poetry and God’s name have mercy on us!

We have the right to warm the nights of beautiful women, and talk about

what might shorted the night of two strangers waiting for North on the compass.

It’s autumn. We have the right to smell autumn’s fragrances

and ask the night for a dream.

Does the dream, like the dreamers themselves, sicken? Autumn. Autumn.

Can a people be born on a guillotine?

We have the right to die any way we wish.

May the earth hide itself away in a blade of wheat!

Found In Volume 31, No. 02
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  • Mahmoud Darwish
Mahmoud Darwish
About the Author

Mahmoud Darwish was the winner of the 2001 Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. Before his death in 2008, he published more than twenty books, including The Adam of Two EdensWhy Have You Left the Horse Alone, and Eleven Planets. Mr. Darwish also authored the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, written in 1988. In 2002, a new English translation of his Selected Poems was published in the United States.