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“Earth Poem” by Mahmoud Darwish

In “Earth Poem,” Darwish shares his love, grief, and expectations for the future in these Palestinian poems with other world peoples. Through his perceptive metaphors and detailed descriptions of the country, the author sounds the voice of the Palestinian Resistance. The main themes of his poetry are his nation and the crimes of the Israeli occupation, which he references by describing a “run-down village” (Darwish 562). However, the narrator believes that the country will transform from a desert to fertile land one day, using a metaphor of cornfields to showcase the transformation.

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The narrator mentions a glimpse of hope among the darkness, desperation, and war. This hope is represented metaphorically through a vehicle such as corn. Plants are closely related to the earth, and together they represent a parallel line with similar signs and symbols. Corn is symbolically known as a plant of a large value in the modern world – it is a symbol of prosperity. By stating that “the future keeps my ear of corn,” the narrator uses corn not only as a symbol of future abundance but as a symbol of hope for a better future (Darwish 562). Thus, by invoking a cornfields metaphor, Darwish creates an image of prosperity and calm, when fields will no longer be destroyed, and people searched.

In conclusion, the poem presents a striking contrast between the gloomy reality of being on the Palestinian land and the hope that can be heard in the narrator’s voice. The narrator is adamant that the future ‘keeps’ something better than what Palestine is facing now because love will free the people from prison chains. Thus, the tenor in this poem is the strive for the better life that is yet to come, represented through cornfields’ vehicle.

Works Cited

Darwish, Mahmoud. “Earth Poem.” Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forché, 1st ed, W.W. Norton, 1993, pp. 562–63.

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