The following excerpt from the poem Rita’s Winter, by Mahmoud Darwash, was read during my friends’ wedding ceremony this past weekend. I think I’ve read it about 50 times since hearing it on Saturday.
…(she) says: Are you mine?
Are you mine?
I am yours, I say, if you leave the door open to my past, mine
is a past I see born out of your absence-
out of squeaking time in this door’s key, mine
is a past I now see sitting near us like a table
and the soap lather is mine
the salted honey
and the ginger.
(She) says: And yours are the stags, if you want, the stags and the plains
and yours are the songs, if you want, the songs and the astonishment-
I was born to love you-
a mare who makes a forest dance, and carves your unknown in corals,
take me and I will pour you in the glass
of my final wine, and cure myself of you, in you, so come and bring your heart-
I was born to love you.
Now, in this, she cracks the walnut of my days, and the fields expand
and this small earth becomes mine.
I have a moon of wine, and I have a burnished stone.A share in the scene of the waves that travel in clouds is mine. A sharein the scripture of creation is mine. A share in Job’s book, and inthe harvest fest. A share in what I owned, and in my mother’s bread.A share in the lily of the valley in the poems of ancient loversand a share in the wisdom of love.