The poignant last chorus of this song appears in many a Palestinian bedtime lullaby. I came across these lyrics in On Literature and Palestinian Popular Literature by Tawfiq Zayyad (Dar al-'Awdah, Beirut, 1970). Opening with
an essay entitled 'Saving our Popular Literature from Extinction', the book illustrates Zayyad's belief in the importance of Palestinian oral history and literature, and of collating, recording, and publishing it.
Tawfiq Zayyad (1932-1994) was also a political writer, a translator of Russian literature into Arabic and mayor of Nazareth. Known as the 'Poet of the Occupied Land', Zayyad's own powerful resistance poetry was heavily
influenced by local legends, popular stories and folk poetry.
Our loved ones have left home,
Gone away without saying goodbye.
When I went by their place one
morning to salute the mulberry tree,
No one was there to invite me in!
All I found was a crying bird.
Regret stopped me short and pinned
my feet to the thorny ground.
I sought in vain to learn what had
become of them,
From the houses where they
Alas, my tears stained the walls
of their buildings.
O cameleer of the caravan, if you
come across them,
Let them know that I still cry for them.
Tell them my loving eyes haven't yet
closed in sleep.
The good nights are gone that
should have lasted forever.
Reem Kelani is a Palestinian musician born in Britain & brought up in Kuwait. Her debut album “Sprinting Gazelle:
Palestinian songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora” was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. Her next album "Reem Kelani: Live at the Tabernacle" will be released in March 2016. Reem wrote & presented “Songs for Tahrir” for BBC Radio 4 on the music of the Egyptian Revolution....more