Here the Birds' Journey Ends, by Mahmoud Darwish
Darwish passed away this month, on the 9th. He’s not one whose life can be easily summed up, having been a PLO member, an Israeli citizen later stripped of that citizenship, and someone whose poems walked such a fine line that translations—well—there were few true translations, from what my cursory research shows.
I’d not heard of him until this poem was published in this week’s New Yorker. Elegies aren’t usually optimistic, and optimism isn’t usually mournful. But “Here the Birds’ Journey Ends” is peaceful, sad, and reassuring.