Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 18:00 UK

Your tributes to Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish
Palestinians have paid their last respects to poet Mahmoud Darwish in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Widely considered the Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish died after open-heart surgery in Houston, Texas, on Saturday at the age of 67.

He was one of the most influential cultural figures in recent Arab history, encapsulating the Palestinian longing for independence.

BBC website readers have been sending in their tributes and memories of Mahmoud Darwish.

Below are a selection of your comments:

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I had the chance to meet him some years ago, first through his poems and in 1998 personally in the Middle East, where I was studying the Arabic language and culture. Profoundly sad, the only thing I can say is what I told him some time ago: Thank you.
Carolina, Rome, Italy

Mahmoud Darwish will be fixed in our memory as Palestinians, as well as in the memory of the people who are always supporting the Palestinians rights to get an independent Palestinian state. He is a great Palestinian icon. His poems will be one of the most effective tools through which we may overcome the present Palestinian situation, and to unify the population aiming to implement the great national Palestinian identity.
Samir, Malta

I'm currently in the city of Jerusalem for vacation and will absolutely attend the funeral of the cultural icon of the Palestinian people. His poems will live on and represent the hopes, aspirations, and dreams of his people.
Omar Alkaissi, Chicago, USA

Unfortunately, as far west as the United States, Mahmoud Darwish is as obscure as you can get, but in Europe and the Arab countries, he symbolised the humane consciousness of Palestinian identity - an identity which others try to quiet, silence, and dispel. He was the best of the lost world and the best of the now. His work was the marker whereby Palestinians everywhere trace their collective identity. With Darwish, Palestinians bury some of their obstinate optimism though never their dreams which Darwish's imagination and corpus can never really encompass.
Linda, New York City, USA

I began learning Arabic because I fell in love with Darwish's poetry. It was beautiful, powerful and utterly moving. I had very much wanted to meet him in person one day, but now I will content myself with remembering him as one of the greatest contemporary poets and a major reason why I began learning such a beautiful language.
RS, Houston, USA

'Identity and humanity'.... I very much appreciate that the BBC honored Palestine's iconic poet Mahmoud Darwish by interviewing a Palestinian who was also a friend of Mahmoud Darwish, as well as a talented poet and thinker: Hanan Ashrawi was the perfect choice in my opinion, to try to explain the invigorating fresh air and inspiration that Darwish gives the world.
Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, USA

There are a few precious minutes in a man's life he will never forget. The meeting with Darwish undoubtedly will light my way forever. It was July 15, 2007. Darwish returned home to Haifa. He recited poetry with great passion like there is no tomorrow, he was fabulous despite his physical weakness. He was feeble but yet he shone like the sun. Great loss.
Maha Fathi Mahajna, Aum El Fahem, Israel

I am reading as much as I can about Mahmoud Darwish online. I signed a book of condolences and drank bitter coffee with Palestinians here. His death is a terrible loss but we're blessed to have his oeuvre. Perhaps finally, more of it will be translated.
Nancy du Plessis, Berlin, Germany

It is so sad to see Darwish go. He was and will always be the Palestinian jewel that never fades. He is the Palestinian's words, voice and soul. Losing Mahmoud Darwish is the biggest loss that the Palestinian people have experienced since the loss of their land. May God bless his soul.
Hiyam Wakeem, Pennsylvania, USA

"Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun." (Written for Yasser Arafat at the UN in 1974). Darwish was the true voice of the Palestinian people and will be missed.
Dalia Hamarasheh, Amman, Jordan

How can we as Palestinians and as Arabs console ourselves over such a loss? Darwish's words will live forever. "Her eyes and the tattoo on her hands are Palestinian, Her name, Palestinian, Her dreams and sorrow, Palestinian, Her kerchief, her feet and body, Palestinian, Her words and her silence, Palestinian, Her voice, Palestinian, Her birth and her death, Palestinian" Darwish, The Lover
Lina Taher, Palestine / US

As Palestinians living in Israel, Darwish has always been a beacon for our Palestinian identity. His great poetry connected us to the Palestinians existence even though borders separated us. The songs he penned, sung by Marcel Khalifa, seamlessly moved us as humans, emotionally affected us as "foreigners in our land", touched us as individuals and inspired us as a minority. Darwish taught us who really we are and formed our collective entity. Mamood Darwish we owe you a lot - may your soul rest in peace.
Moayad Abdul Jawad, Um El Fahem, Israel

Darwish deserved Nobel prizes. Darwish deserved Booker prizes. He deserved publicity and praise by the media more than any pop star or politician, for his words, his thoughts and his love for life and living. He taught me to understand living life with love, even during war from all sides.
Fittz, London, UK

It's hard and rather strange to talk about Mahmoud Darwish as if he's not among us. We have to say farewell to another hero of the great Palestinian people, whose identity is forged by fire, displacement, hope and love for life. An identity Darwish described so well with writings that will be memorized by generations to come. In your path friend, always.
Yazeed Barghouthy, Nazareth, Israel

You left us with a void. You will be forever missed. May your poems forever resonate.
Suliman M., Dallas, Texas, USA

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