A question drives my reading of Mahmoud Darwish’s Mural, chronicling a poet’s quest for his own becoming while facing death: What rhythms of freedom—or what forms of enlightenment—may a person inhabit when facing life’s end? I argue that to this question Mural responds with an ethical striving, guided by a principle Darwish calls “evanescence.” I contingently identify evanescence as an “ethics of oneness” oriented to composite unity, which Darwish practices on a series of dualities inhabiting his life in death’s company. In contrast to enacting sovereignty, this ethos solders opposites together. In digging under the separation required by any act of criticism, Darwish’s Mural reaches beyond criticism to attain the courage required for living with death.

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