The Mahmoud Darwish Selected came in yesterday and what started out as a quick flick through, sucked me right into the book. The poems are just amazing. Packed with gorgeous language and imagery. Not sure what forms are at work but there's much mantra style line repetition which works almost hypnotically and suits the themes perfectly. The book is prefaced with a couple of lines from Lorca -nor is my house any longer my house
and there is definitely a Lorca feel to the poems - the exotic land imagery for one. But the poems aren't sentimental. Despite the beautiful language and imagery they can be hard-hitting as they deal with difficult themes in opposites - love/hate, being at home/alienation, peace/war, identity/loss of identity, individual/ the people, and of course, life/death. These constant dualities are explored, painfully, in the first person. However the poems aren't political treatises, they are always, and above all, poems.
Some lines from 'Another Road in the Road'
There is yet another road in the road, another chance for migration.
To cross over we will throw many roses in the river.
No widow wants to return to us, there we have to go, north of the neighing horses.
Have we yet forgotten something, both simply and worthy of our new ideas?
When you talk about yesterday, friend, I see my face reflected in the song of doves.
I touch the dove's ring and hear flute-song in the abandoned fig tree.
My longing weeps for everything. My longing shoots back at me, to kill or be killed.