‘A Poet’s Hallucinations,’ by Dareen Tatour

Dareen Tatour’s “A Poet’s Hallucinations,” translated by Jonathan Wright, comes ahead of PEN America’s planned month of solidarity with Tatour, who was first arrested in October 2015, charged with incitement to violence primarily over a poem (translated to English here), and has been in jail and on house arrest since.

The verdict in Tatour’s trial is currently set for October 17 at noon in the Nazareth court. By this time, the poet will be exactly two years and a week in detention.

You can follow the course of her trial at freedareentatour.org/trial.

  1. The Desire Hallucination


Desire builds a nest

Between the branches of my love.

It sings like a bulbul, night and day

And sweeps through me like fire through straw.

It tears my eyes from my face

And disfigures my features.

It steals all the furniture in my soul

So I sit and lament my luck.


  1. The Loneliness Hallucination


Loneliness came in, taking me by surprise

Without knocking on my door

Like an impolite guest.

It sat at my desk

Picked up my pen

And stretched out its legs in front of me

And put its hands on my papers.

It leafed through my notebooks of poetry

And looked at me with all kinds of

Loathing and disgust.

I threw it out and now I’m alone.


  1. The Exile Hallucination


I know I’m an outcast,


on this patch of land.

My family disown me.

I know I never found myself a mother

And was born in an abandoned house.

I didn’t have a father.

I was born

From the womb of poetry.


  1. The Sadness Hallucination


Sadness laughed at my joy

In a moment of love,

And reproached me

In a moment of memory.

And everyone looked at me

So much that my spirit abandoned me and fled

Like a desert with sands torn apart.

I brooded over my sorrows

And breathed my last breath.

For you I wished for death

On the hair of your hands.


  1. An Innocent Halluciation


I offered the angel of death

A thousand reasons for killing me.

I carried my blood on the palm of my hand

And my soul on my wrist.

I’ve had enough of injustice!

To sit before the court

Like a dead picture

In a torn book

My face as pale as newspaper ink.

I am the one who’s been murdered

When they jailed my virginity

In the cage of usurpation

And the usurpers’ chains,

With me accused

Before the judge of the court.

It was I who enticed the jailer to jail me

And to desire me.

They jailed me

and called me a criminal,

While I’m innocent, I’m innocent.


6. A Death Hallucination


Tomorrow my end will begin, and my beginning,

I’ll write my name on my pillow,

And my history, my birth and my death.

Tomorrow my wishes will come true

Early in the morning

As my friends wake up,

The doves and the sparrows

And the damask rose.


I’ll gather my papers

And pick up the remains of my memory,

Pictures of my loved ones,

A picture of my mother and father.

I’ll put them in my bag.

I’m so impatient

To dig my grave with my own hands.