Marilyn Hacker se elegie oor Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish

Marilyn Hacker is een van die VSA se vernaamste digters en ‘n nuwe bundel uit haar pen is altyd welkome nuus. Met die publikasie van haar nuutste bundel, Names (2010: WW Norton) is dit geen uitsondering nie. In haar bespreking daarvan op The Guardian se webblad skryf Carol Rumens soos volg daaroor: “As suggested by the title and the book’s dedication (“In Memory of Hayden Carruth, Mahmoud Darwish and Reginald Shepherd”), many presences and literary mentors are invoked. These guardian spirits, living and dead, local and distant, have their appropriate modes of address.”

Dit is egter veral die slotgedig in die bundel, “A Braid of Garlic“, wat in die aandag trek aangesien dit ‘n besonderse huldeblyk is aan Mahmoud Darwish, die ontslape Palestynse digter met wie Breyten Breytenbach eweneens in sy mees onlangse bundel, “oorblyfsel / voice over” in gesprek tree. Oor dié gedig het Rumens haar soos volg uitgelaat: “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”.

Persoonlik vind ek die suggestie van die skoenlapper in die laaste reëls besonder treffend; veral vanweë die sterk teenwoordigheid van die skoenlapper as metafoor in Darwish se eie digkuns. (Die titel van sy versamelde gedigte in Engels is hoeka The butterfly’s burden (2008: Bloodaxe Books).

Vir jou leesplesier vanoggend volg Marilyn Hacker se elegie hieronder.


Ten slotte is daar vier nuwe blogs om onder jou aandag te bring, te wete: Ester Naomi Perquin,  Vrouwkje Tuinman, Andries Bezuidenhout en Desmond Painter. Verder is die naweek ‘n goeie tyd om jou agterstallige leeswerk in te haal …

Geniet dit. Ons hervat weer Maandag-oggend.

Mooi bly.



A Braid of Garlic

Aging women mourn while they go to market,
buy fish, figs, tomatoes, enough today to
feed the wolf asleep underneath the table
who wakes from what dream?

What but loss comes round with the changing season?
He is dead, whom, daring, I called a brother
with that leftover life perched on his shoulder
cawing departure.

He made one last roll of the dice. He met his
last, best interlocutor days before he
lay down for the surgery that might/might not
extend the gamble.

What they said belongs to them. Now a son writes
elegies, though he has a living father.
One loves sage tea, one gave the world the scent of
his mother’s coffee.

Light has shrunk back to what it was in April,
incrementally will shrink back to winter.
I can’t call my peregrinations ‘exile,’
but count the mornings.

In a basket hung from the wall, its handle
festooned with cloth flowers from chocolate boxes,
mottled purple shallots, and looped beside it,
a braid of garlic.

I remember, ten days after a birthday
(counterpoint and candlelight in the wine-glass),
how the woman radiologist’s fingers
probed, not caressing.

So, reprise (what wasn’t called a ‘recurrence’)
of a fifteen-years-ago rite of passage:
I arrived, encumbered with excess baggage,
scarred, on the threshold.

Through the mild winter sun in February,
two or three times weekly to Gobelins, the
geriatric hospital where my friend was
getting her nerve back.

At the end of elegant proofs and lyric,
incoherent furious trolls in diapers.
Fragile and ephemeral as all beauty:
the human spirit –

while the former journalist watched, took notes and
shocked, regaled her visitors with dispatches
from the war zone in which she was embedded,
biding her time there.

Now in our own leftover lives, we toast our
memories and continence. I have scars where
breasts were, her gnarled fingers, these days, can hardly
hold the pen steady.

Thousands mourn him, while in the hush and hum of
life-support for multiple organ failure,
utter solitude, poise of scarlet wings that
flutter, and vanish.


(c) Marilyn Hacker (Uit: Names, 2010:  WW Norton)

Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.