Marilyn Hacker’s Elegy for Mahmoud Darwish
By The Editors on 5.10.10
This week’s “Poem of the Week” selection from The Guardian, chosen by the poet Carol Rumens, is the final poem from Marilyn Hacker’s most recent collection, Names. The poem is called “A Braid of Garlic.” Rumens writes:
A Braid Of Garlic, the last poem in the collection, is partly an elegy for Mahmoud Darwish, “whom, daring, I called a brother”. The verse is written in an informal Sapphic quatrain, its stanzas sometimes impressionistic ‘scenes’ or vivid jottings. The dying fall of the feminine endings and foreshortened last lines seems appropriate to the overall mood. But against this sorrowful cadence is pitted a vigorous appetite for joy and survival, expressed in the muscularity of the syntax, and embodied by the “aging women” who continue valiantly to shop and write and celebrate their “memories and continence”.