The Prison Cell

The Prison Cell

It is possible especially now

To ride a horse

Inside a prison cell

And run away…

It is possible for prison walls

To disappear,

For the cell to become a distant land

The prison guard got angry.

He put an end to the dialogue

He said he didn’t care for poetry,

And bolted the door of my cell.


He came back to see me

–Where did all this water come from?

–I brought it from the Nile.

–And the trees?

–From the orchards of Damascus.

–And the music?

–From my heartbeat.


The prison guard got mad,

But returned in the evening

–Where did this moon come from?

–From the nights of Baghdad.

–And the wine?

–From the vineyards of Algiers.

–And this freedom?

–From the chain you tied me with last night.


The prison guard grew so sad…

He begged me to give him back

His freedom.

by Mahmud Darwish, Palestine

Translated and abridged by Ben Bennani

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