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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.