Mahmoud Darwish

(13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008 / Palestinian)

Bread - Poem by Mahmoud Darwish

From early dusk the day was inscrutable
The sun shows up, lazy as usual
A mineral ash, eastward, blocks the horizon. . .
In the veins of clouds
In household pipes
The water was hard. . .
A desperate autumn in the life of Beirut
Death spread from the palace
to the radio to the salesman of sex
To the vegetable market
What is it wakes you now?
Exactly five o'clock
And thirty people killed
Go back to sleep
It is a time of death and a time of fire
Ibrahim was a painter
He painted water
He was a deck for lilies to grow on
And terrible if woken up at dawn
But his children were spun of lilac and sunlight
They wanted milk and a loaf of bread
Inscrutable day. My face
A telegram made of wheat in a field of bullets
What is it wakes you now
Exactly five o'clock
And thirty people killed
Bread never had this taste before
This blood this whispering texture this grand apprehension complete essence this voice this time this colour this art this human energy this secret this magic this unique movement from the cavern of origin to
the gang war to the tragedy of Beirut
At exactly five o'clock
Who was dying?
Into his hands Ibrahim took the last color
Color of the secrets in the elements
A painter and a rebel he painted
A land teeming with people, oak trees, and war
Ocean waves, working people, street vendors, countryside
And he paints
In the miracle of bread

Poet's Notes about The Poem

(Written for Ibrahim Marzouk, a painter, killed on the morning of Wednesday, October 8, 1975, as he was buying bread at a Beirut bakery, one of many victims of the Lebanese civil war.)

Comments about Bread by Mahmoud Darwish

  • Rajnish Manga (5/18/2017 10:43:00 PM)

    Exactly five o'clock
    And thirty people killed
    Bread never had this taste before
    This blood this whispering texture this grand apprehension....// A spine-chilling and heart-rending reportage covering a tragic moment of mindless violence and carnage of 1975 in Beirut. Thanks.
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Glen Kappy (5/18/2017 7:01:00 AM)

    Inscrutable day

    this phrase, even if it weren't repeated, resonates. and the poem as a whole, describing ordinary people and ordinary things (which i guess most of us enjoy casually) , reminds us with a stab of the ongoing tragedy of beirut and lebanon. -gk
    (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (5/18/2017 3:41:00 AM)

    a very sad poem of the reality some people still have to live with............ the consequences of WAR? ............well written (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (5/18/2017 2:49:00 AM)

    In the veins of clouds..... thanks for posting..... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/18/2017 2:30:00 AM)

    Lazy as usual! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Sylvaonyema Uba (5/18/2017 1:09:00 AM)

    In the miracle of bread.

    A well articulated poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani (7/4/2014 6:21:00 AM)

    Wow this is the best poem ive come across today.well layed down (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

[Report Error]