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The Butterfly's Burden

4.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  180 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
“Mahmoud Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of images that invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world’s whole heart. What he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world—his in an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Paperback, 327 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Copper Canyon Press
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Community Reviews

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Nov 04, 2015 Taka rated it really liked it
"I am the second Adam. I learned to read / and write through my sins' lessons"--

It's really hard to describe Darwish's poetry. It's a little Lorca-esque in places, but not that extreme or loud. It's quietly surreal, and simple but also lyrical. There are so many lines I underlined and poems I need to go back to. A few excerpts:

"It's your bad luck that you chose the gardens
near god's borders,
where the sword writes clay's tale..."

"We store our sorrows in our jars, lest
the soldiers see them and cel
Ahmed Al-Hulaily
Oct 30, 2014 Ahmed Al-Hulaily rated it it was amazing
هذا الكتاب يحتوي على ثلاث دواوين للشّاعر الكبير محمود درويش و هي : سرير الغريبة، حالة حصار، لا تعتذر عمّا فعلت باللّغتين العربيّة و الإنجليزيّة ، مقاطع كثيرة تلك الّتي علقت بذاكرتي و لا سيّما قصيدة درس من كاما سوطرا حيث يقول :
و خُذها إلى شُرفةٍ لترى قمرًا غارقًا في الحليب
و انتظرها
و قدّم لها الماء قبل النّبيذ، و لا
تتطلّع إلى توأمي حَجَلٍ نائِمَيْن على صدرها
و انتظرهاو مُسّ على مَهَلٍ يدها عندما
تضعُ الكأس فوق الرّخام
كأنّك تحملُ عنها النّدى
و انتظرها
و الكثير الكثير...
Nov 22, 2014 metaphor rated it it was amazing
I have waited for this book like a nomad in the desert longs for a night to set off for his journey, like the sea aches for its returning wave, like a poet who wants the reader to embrace his poem. Now I have it in front of me "The Butterfly's Burden", a journey of, and through, voice.There is an "I" that overflows from "you", a dialogue between masculine and feminine, prose and poetry. There is a question how to carry the "I" of the "we" without betraying one perception for the other. It's sing ...more
Mohammed Galal
Jan 19, 2014 Mohammed Galal rated it really liked it
"A State of Siege" is the best collection of poems in the book.Love poems do not usually appeal to me,this is why I didn't like "The Stranger's Bed".Other poems are more well-written than others.The absence-presence dialect is always appealing,Drawish is its master in modern Arabic poetry.What endears the poetry of Darwish particularly to me is the fact that he has modernized poetry,liberating it from the age-old cliches.An obvious example of this is his poem"No More and Not Less".In it,Darwish ...more
Mar 26, 2009 M.B. rated it it was amazing
I loved a lot of things about this book. It's Darwish's last three collections put together, which makes for interesting juxtapositions (the love lyrics of 'The Stranger's Bed' side by side with 'A State of Siege', written in Ramallah in earshot of Israeli tanks). What I love about Darwish is that his political poems are never political in an antsy didactic way, though they easily could be - instead, there's a real suffusion of political and poetic sensibility, so that poetry becomes a mode of k ...more
Dec 11, 2014 Jimmy rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-authors
Darwish is one of the most read poets in the Arab world. Three of his books are contained in this one volume. The Stranger's Bed (1998) contained some monologues with a woman speaker. I honestly checked three times to make sure Darwish was a man. I was convinced otherwise. A State of Siege (2002) is about Arab-Israeli conflict. It is actually one long poem with many short sections. I thought it was the best of the three. Don't Apologize for What You've Done (2003) has for its main themes apologi ...more
Ormond College Library
Nov 20, 2012 Ormond College Library rated it really liked it
Gerard Williams: Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish was born on March 15, 1941. He was considered the Palestinian national poet and won numerous awards for his work including the 1969 Lotus Prize, the 1983 Lenin Peace Prize, and the 2001 Lannan Foundation Prize for Cultral Freedom. His best known work was Identity Card (1964). He also edited the journal Al Karmel and wrote the Palestinian declaration of independent statehood. He died from complications of heart surgery on August 9, 2008.
Nov 15, 2014 Yasmeen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pure-brilliance
Ok, my love for this guy has gotten mildly out of hand. This is one of the few collections I haven't reread extensively because I remember it not appealing to me the first time I read it as much as some of his other collections did. But I'm kind of in a state of shock currently; Darwish's poetry is stunningly beautiful, and there's no way I can be coherent about it. The first part was especially spectacular.
Oct 10, 2011 Mimi rated it really liked it
I am still reading this book, but like much poetry, I have to reread over and over. Darwish is quite different from the poets I'm usually drawn to, like Kay Ryan who love language and are witty. One is never sure of poetry in translation, but this seems to be very well done. I like best the more political poems than the love poems in the first half of the book. They are all worth rereading though.
Nov 24, 2010 Shama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Darwish's poems have this rare gift to be universally relevant and yet evocative of a particular place and culture. Beautiful, poignant, at turns humorous and sometimes tragic, full of the spirit and sadness of the Middle Eastern (particularly Palestinian) experience. His poems are the kind that you carry with you for the rest of your life.
Nov 03, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it
Darwish died not long ago and it was through obits that I discovered how important he has become to Palestinian culture. I found some of the poems outstanding and others too florid and overblown, but I wonder how much that has to do with the translation. Another insight into the rich culture of Palestine.
May 10, 2010 Diane rated it really liked it
I had to work at this book but it's worth the effort. For me: some real treasures in here, plus a lot to learn, plus some poems I never did "get," - probably to do with cultural differences and historical ignorance on my part. Very like visiting another country.
Dec 30, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
how tragic his death, waiting for a Visa for surgery in the states ... the accompaning arabic is exceedingly beautiful & a script i now want to learn . the 'others' the lovers the muses, they are all here in this song of exile and Palestine and longing .
Aug 04, 2014 Ayoub rated it liked it
كعادة درويش كلمات منتقاة بعناية وأسلوب مميز عن باقي الشعراء

ثلاث قصائد تعجبني كثيرا في هذا الكتاب هي:إنتظرها ولاشيء يعجبني وتنسى كأنك لم تكن

أما عن أثر الفراشة من هذا الكتاب فقد يدوم طويلا ويتعدى حدود اللغة والجغرافيا
David O'Neill
Jan 08, 2014 David O'Neill rated it really liked it
An interesting view of a complex man in a complex situation. Translated poetry is always a difficult prospect but this works seems well done and it reads well in English.
May 11, 2013 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
Definitely worth reading- the greatest Palestinian Poet... The feeling while reading his poetry could not be described; it should be experienced!
Frederic Murray
Mar 04, 2009 Frederic Murray rated it liked it
Darwish has been around for a long time, and like Blues Men & seasoned NBA players he keeps getting better & better
Robert Rhodes
Mar 27, 2008 Robert Rhodes rated it it was amazing
Darwish is the greatest poet Palestine has produced in modern times. This is a wonderful new collection.
Rewa Zeinati
Aug 07, 2013 Rewa Zeinati rated it it was amazing
Read it in its original Arabic. Read it in English. Prophetic. Gorgeous.
Aug 05, 2007 Matthew rated it it was amazing
These are some of the finest Darwish translations available in English.
Fady Joudah's translations are seamless...the lyric of pain.
Jun 20, 2010 La'eeqah rated it liked it
Arabian Poetry at its best!
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Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: محمود درويش) was a respected Palestinian poet and author who won numerous awards for his literary output and was regarded as the Palestinian national poet. In his work, Palestine became a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile.
More about Mahmoud Darwish...

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“Sonnet V
I touch you as a lonely violin touches the suburbs of the faraway place
patiently the river asks for its share of the drizzle
and, bit by bit, a tomorrow passing in poems approaches
so I carry faraway's land and it carries me on travel's road

On a mare made of your virtues, my soul weaves
a natural sky made of your shadows, one chrysalis at a time.
I am the son of what you do in the earth, son of my wounds
that have lit up the pomegranate blossoms in your closed-up gardens

Out of jasmine the night's blood streams white. Your perfume,
my weakness and your secret, follows me like a snakebite. And your hair
is a tent of wind autumn in color. I walk along with speech
to the last of the words a bedouin told a pair of doves

I palpate you as a violin palpates the silk of the faraway time
and around me and you sprouts the grass of an ancient place—anew”
More quotes…