The Last Movie

By Rachel Hadas b. 1948 Rachel Hadas
Saturday, April 5. Welles’s Othello:   
black and white grid of rage,

steam of sheer fury spewing from the vent   
of violence that followed where they went.

Wind howled on the battlements, but sun   
gilded glum canals. The lovers floated

beneath black bridges, coupled in stone rooms.   
The unrepentant villain (at the start

so all the rest was flashback)   
dangled from a cage

squinting inscrutably at the funeral   
procession winding through the town below.

The air was full of wailing.
Knives of sunlight glittered on the sea.

We lurched out onto Fifty-Seventh Street.   
You said “I think I’m dying.”

Next week your eyes went out.   
Shining under the lamp,

your blue gaze, now opaque,
your face drawn sharper but still beautiful:

from this extremity you can attempt
to rise to rage and grief. Or you can yield

to the cozy quicksand of the bed.
You wave your hand at walls of books:

“What do I do? Do I throw all these away?”
Their anecdotes, their comforts—now black glass.

Rachel Hadas, “The Last Movie” from Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems. Copyright ? 1998 by Rachel Hadas. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1998)

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Poet Rachel Hadas b. 1948

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Theater & Dance, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Death

 Rachel  Hadas

Biography

The daughter of renowned classical scholar Moses Hadas, whose early death she has said gave her a “premature sense of the yoking of love and loss,” Rachel Hadas has published numerous collections of poetry, essays, and translations. Kevin Walzer, an editor at WordTech Communications who published Hadas’s The River of Forgetfulness (2006), comments that “her work—steeped in her knowledge of classical Greek and Latin, formally . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Theater & Dance, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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