The Train Passed by

Mahmoud Darwish

Quickly, the train passed by.

I had been waiting

On the sidewalk

Travelers were rushing to their

Daily lives.... and I

Continued to wait

From afar, violins cry,

So  I am carried

By the edges of a cloud that


The yearning for things obscure

Becomes distant and imminent.

Forgetfulness does not push me away.

Memory does not  bring me closer

To a woman

Who if caressed by the moon

Would scream:  I am the moon.

Quickly, the train passed by

My time, on the sidewalk

Did not belong to me.

The hour was different

What time is it now?

What day separated yesterday from


When the gypsies migrated?

Here, I was born yet cannot give birth.

This train

Then,  will complete my stubborn birth,

while the rees surround me

Here, I was found yet cannot find


In this train I will stumble

Upon my soul filled with

Two banks of a river that died

Like a young man dies.

“If only the boy was a rock”

Quickly the train passed by

Passed by me and I am

Like the station, not knowing whether

To bid farewell or greet the people:

Above my sidewalk,

A welcome

A coffee shop






Music and a

Rhyme for

Another Poet who will come and wait.

Quickly, the train passed by

Passed by me

And I am still waiting.

From Mahmoud Darwish’s latest collection, “Why Did You Abandon The Horse” (Riyad Naguib El Rayess, 1995)


Translated, from the Arabic, by Nezar Andary

This poem appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 4, no. 23 (Spring 1998)

Copyright (c) 1998 by Al Jadid