Poem from Palestine: A dream under the Willow Tree

Poem from Palestine: A dream under the Willow Tree
The right of return: a dream held by Palestinian refugees but often forgotten by the rest of the world. Gazan poet Mohammed Arafat captures the longing of returning home.
3 min read
09 Jan, 2017
Israeli soldiers patrol next to cut olive trees [Getty Images]
Millions of Palestinians now live in the diaspora, not knowing if they will ever come back to their land. They left their yards, halls and villages, keeping the memories locked in their hearts and whispered to their children.

They left holding their key in their hands, passing them to their children, and their grandchildren, a reminder so they never forget their and their grandparents' origins.

Amid today's political battles, the Palestinian right of return is neglected. Refugees all over the world try to keep their homeland alive through song, film and poetry.

This poem was written remembering the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, the nakba, and the wish of every refugee; to go back home.


A Dream under the Willow Tree


The breeze stopped suddenly,

The skies filled with black clouds,

There was no rain,

A piece of that high crescent looked at me,

… it disappeared,

Willows' leaves were withered and crisped over me,

They were yellow,

Branches wanted to cry, but they did not,

They were wood,

The scene was dreary and sullen,

It was late on a Friday in October,

Around me, olive trees were not harvested yet,

I walked miles to arrive this area,

Under the cold and freezing weather,

Under the storms racing into the forests,

… But I had the intention, and I arrived,

My heart was volcanic,

But sometimes trembling like the autumn's leaf,

I stood on a high hill,

A hill overlooking Jerusalem,

And the occupied lands,

But I could see nothing,

It was dark… very dark,

I wanted to see my old home,

My swing,

The broken table in the yard,

My mother's domestics,

And her smell,

My father's planets,

And his smell,

His cart and the strong white mare,

The orange orchard of my grandmother,

Her little walker beside the trees,

And her wheelchair,

The great wall near the golden mosque,

The great bell of the huge church,

The dome of the rock,

The wide hall,

The fountain of prayers,

And Marwanic mosque,


But I woke up,

No one awoke me up,

It was only a dream,

A hard dream,

A simple dream,

A quick one,

I picked up my father old home's key,

It was under my pillow,

I kissed it,

Hugged it,

My tears cried over it,

And said, I missed the people who held you,

I missed the people, who held you,


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Mohammed Arafat is a Gaza-based poet and blogger, penning life under the occupation. 

Mohammed holds a bachelor degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and is preparing for a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. Author of, Still Living There, a book documenting Gaza's last war and its aftermath. You can read more of his poetry on his blog here.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.