The Pillow- Mourid Barghouti

The pillow said:
at the end of the long day
only I know
the confident man’s confusion,
the nun’s desire,
the slight quiver in the tyrant’s eyelash,
the preacher’s obscenity,
the soul’s longing
for a warm body where flying sparks
become a glowing coal.
Only I know
the grandeur of unnoticed little things;
only I know the loser’s dignity,
the winner’s loneliness
and the stupid coldness one feels
when a wish has been granted.


On 14/2/2021, Mourid Barghouti, one of the greatest Palestinian poets and writers, passed away at the age of 76. He was born four years before the state of Israel was created in a village near Ramallah. He spent much of his life in one form or other of exile – which he recounted in the memoir I Saw Ramallah that won him an international audience. The memoir was described by his fellow Palestinian writer Edward Said as one of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement.

Born in 1944, Barghouti was studying in the Egyptian capital Cairo when the 1967 Arab-Israeli war broke out.

He did not return to his birthplace for another 30 years. His sense of being forever uprooted was examined in I Saw Ramallah but also in many of the poems he published in 12 collections as he moved between countries.

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