World Poetry Forum

When Mahmoud Darwish died last August the Palestinian president declared three days of mourning. The international poetry forum UniVerse now has a tribute to Darwish along with several of his poems.

UniVerse publishes lauded poets alongside under-recognized refugee poets and poets writing in marginalized nations. Some of our contributors write poems to preserve the stories and colors of their culture; some craft boldly individual works. Their voices combine the singular and the collective, and their lives demonstrate courage and compassion.

We thank them for their poems. Each is a glimpse of the human world and an invitation into an honest and intimate relationship. And we know that the universe expands whenever we deepen our relationships.

nadia-anjomanOther featured poets include  Afghan Nadia Anjoman (1980-2005), who secretly studied literature and began her poetic career in clandestine meetings at the home of a literature professor during Taliban rule and was beaten to death shortly after publishing her first collection of poetry, Gol-e Dudi (‘Smokey Flower’), Darwish’s translator Fady Joudah, and Palestinian Naomi Shihab Nye .

Here is “Birds in Winter” by Kirmen Uribe in Basque and English:

Basque version

Txoriak neguan

Txoriak salbatzea zen gure misioa.
Elurretan preso geratu ziren txoriak salbatzea.

Hondartza aldean egoten ziren gordeta gehienak
itsaso beltzaren abarora.
Txoriak ere beltzak ziren.
Babeslekutik atera eta etxera eramaten genituen
patrikaretan sartuta.
Txori txiki-txikiak, gure haur eskuetan ere
doi-doi sartzen zirela.

Gero, berogailuaren ondoan jartzen genituen.
Txoriek baina ez zuten luzaroan irauten.
Bi edo hiru orduren buruan hil egiten ziren.
Guk ez genuen ulertzen zergatik,
ez genuen ulertzen haien esker txarra.
Izan ere, esnetan bustitako ogi apurrak ematen genizkien
jatera ahora
eta ohea ere prestatzen genien
gure bufandarik koloretsuenekin.

Alferrik baina, hil egiten ziren.

Gurasoek haserre, esaten ziguten
ez ekartzeko txori gehiago etxera,
hil egiten zirela gehiegizko beroagatik.
Eta natura jakintsua dela
iritsiko zeal udaberria bere txoriekin.

Gu pentsakor jartzen ginen une batez,
beharbada gurasoak zuzen izango dira.

Hala eta guztiz ere,
biharamonean berriro joango ginen hondartza aldera
txoriak salbatzera.
Gure ahalegina
itsasoan elurra bezain alferrekoa zela jakin arren.

Eta txoriek hiltzen jarraitzen zuten, txoriek hiltzen.

English version

Birds in Winter

Saving the birds was our mission that whole winter.
Saving the birds imprisoned in the snow.

All along the beach most of them were hidden,
nestled in the shade of the black sea.
The birds were black, too.
From the coverts we’d take them and carry them home
in our coat pockets.
The tiniest birds, barely contained
in even our child-sized hands.

Later, we’d lay them beside the warm stove.
But the birds never lasted long.
In two or three hours they died.
We didn’t see why,
didn’t understand their bad luck.
After all, we’d given them
breadcrumbs moistened in milk,
held to their mouths, to eat,
and furnished a nest for each
with our most colorful winter scarves.
But it was useless, they kept on dying.

Furious, our parents told us
not to bring home any more birds,
they were dying of too much heat.
And that nature is wise,
spring would come with its own birds.

We sat and considered their statements,
it could be that they will be right.

Still and all, the very next day
we would flock off back to the beach
to save the birds,
though we knew
it was fruitless as snow in the sea.

And our birds kept dying, these birds taking life.

Note: I’m closing this thread, since it has started attracting daily spammers.

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One Response to “World Poetry Forum”

  1. zanussi Says:

    В нынешней ситуации большинство тем отходят на второй план. Интересно, как мы будем жить, если доллар рухнет?

    [English, via Google Translate: In the current situation, most of those moving away to second place. I wonder how we will live, if the dollar collapses? This spammer couldn’t even post a working link, but I have disabled it anyway. Odd what is on the Russian spammers’ minds. -N]

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