“From the River to the Sea.” A Poem by Samer Abu Hawwash, translated by Huda Fakhreddine

"every whisper, every touch, every street, every house, every room"

April 1, 2024  By Samer Abu Hawwash and Huda Fakhreddine

From the River to the Sea

every street, every house, every room, every window, every balcony, every wall, every stone, every sorrow, every word, every letter, every whisper, every touch, every glance, every kiss, every tree, every spear of grass, every tear, every scream, every air, every hope, every supplication, every secret, every well, every prayer, every song, every ballad, every book, every paper, every color, every ray, every cloud, every rain, every drop of rain, every drip of sweat, every lisp, every stutter, every yamma, mother, every yaba, father, every shadow, every light, every little hand that drew in a little notebook a tree or house or heart or a family of a father, a mother, siblings, and pets, every longing, every possibility, every letter between two lovers that arrived or didn’t arrive, every gasp of love dispersed in the distant clouds, every moment of despair at every turn, every suitcase on top of every closet, every library, every shelf, every minaret, every rug, every bell toll in every church, every rosary, every holy praise, every arrival, every goodbye, every Good Morning, every Thank God, every ‘ala rasi, my pleasure, every hill ‘an sama’i, leave me alone, every rock, every wave, every grain of sand, every hair-do, every mirror, every glance in every mirror, every cat, every meow, every happy donkey, every sad donkey’s gaze, every pot, every vapor rising from every pot, every scent, every bowl, every school queue, every school shoes, every ring of the bell, every blackboard, every piece of chalk, every school costume, every mabruk ma ijakum, congratulations on the baby, every y ‘awid bi-salamtak, condolences, every ayn al- ḥasud tibla bil-‘ama, may the envious be blinded, every photograph, every person in every photograph, every niyyalak, how lucky, every ishta’nalak, we’ve missed you, every grain of wheat in every bird’s gullet, every lock of hair, every hair knot, every hand, every foot, every football, every finger, every nail, every bicycle, every rider on every bicycle, every turn of air fanning from every bicycle, every bad joke, every mean joke, every laugh, every smile, every curse, every yearning, every fight, every sitti, grandma, every sidi, grandpa, every meadow, every flower, every tree, every grove, every olive, every orange, every plastic rose covered with dust on an abandoned counter, every portrait of a martyr hanging on a wall since forever, every gravestone, every sura, every verse, every hymn, every ḥajj mabrur wa sa ‘yy mashkur, may your ḥajj and effort be rewarded, every yalla tnam yalla tnam, every lullaby, every red teddy bear on every Valentine’s, every clothesline, every hot skirt, every joyful dress, every torn trousers, every days-spun sweater, every button, every nail, every song, every ballad, every mirror, every peg, every bench, every shelf, every dream, every illusion, every hope, every disappointment, every hand holding another hand, every hand alone, every scattered thought, every beautiful thought, every terrifying thought, every whisper, every touch, every street, every house, every room, every balcony, every eye, every tear, every word, every letter, every name, every voice, every name, every house, every name, every face, every name, every cloud, every name, every rose, every name, every spear of grass, every name, every wave, every grain of sand, every street, every kiss, every image, every eye, every tear, every yamma, every yaba, every name, every name, every name, every name, every name, every name, every name, every name, all…

Samer Abu Hawwash and Huda Fakhreddine
Samer Abu Hawwash is a Palestinian writer and translator. He was born in Lebanon to a Palestinian refugee family. He has published ten volumes of poetry, starting with his debut collection Life is Printed in New York (1997). He is also a prolific translator of English-language fiction and non-fiction. Among his notable translations are works by Charles Bukowski, Langston Hughes, Jack Kerouac, Yann Martel, Hanif Kureishi, Denis Johnson and Marilynne Robinson.

Huda Fakhreddine is a writer and translator. She is the author of Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition (Brill, 2015) and The Arabic Prose Poem: Poetic Theory and Practice (Edinburgh University Press, 2021) and the co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Poetry (Routledge, 2023). Her book of creative nonfiction titled Zaman saghir taht shams thaniya (A Small Time Under a Different Sun) was published by Dar al-Nahda, Beirut in 2019. She is the co-translator of Lighthouse for the Drowning (BOA editions, 2017), The Sky That Denied Me (University of Texas Press, 2020), Come Take a Gentle Stab (Seagull Books, 2021), and the translator of The Universe, All at Once (Seagull Books, forthcoming). Her translations of Arabic poems have appeared in World Literature Today, Protean Magazine, Mizna, Nimrod, ArabLit Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Asymptote among others. She is associate professor of Arabic literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

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