An ancient woman, who has lived all seasons,
wanders the earth gathering camomile.
Each flower in her apron is a star,
her apron is the sky. When she reaches the house,
she strews them to dry like shells on a beach –
to bring good luck, to whisper the future.
In the sun her tattoo glistens, a star glints
in her golden earring, the camomile dries.
Her hand, hennaed with god’s names,
spun the wool of the flock, embroidered
the wedding clothes, gathers the dried flowers.
But next season, when the future arrived,
it silenced the whispers. She was buried with her ancestors.
And yet as if by chance, as if by magic, as if by a miracle
the camomile grows each season behind the house.
Many seeds have flown. These seeds remain.
About this poem
This poem, representing Palestine, is part of The Written World – our collaboration with BBC radio to broadcast a poem from every single nation competing in London 2012.