Poem to Circe XIX

The London Magazine - - JOSÉ MANUEL CARDONA -

I did not come to put things in or­der, Nor will I spend much time among you. The for­eigner knows that the land He most loves is not his and he re­mains Like an un­fa­mil­iar sailor among men. When it’s time to leave, When the wind raises its moor­ings And the rig­ging is wrapped with the mys­te­ri­ous Smoke of dawn and the fish Slime is soft in the grotto Where we sac­ri­fice to the gods, When you do not see me among you, Aban­don my name to obliv­ion. I leave you noth­ing and I take noth­ing With me. There are no an­chors or ban­ners To com­mem­o­rate my ten­ure.

Only the long knife of the stars In the night’s open eyes. I haven’t come to ask, or to give, or to be. I haven’t come to sow in your fields Nor do I think of col­lect­ing for win­ter. I have been with you, that’s all. Circe knows what stars, what storms, What mil­len­nium moons brought me. I know the signs rul­ing ex­ile And death and aban­don my­self To a dark honey blood.

I am icon­o­clas­tic and break idols. I af­firm and deny with the same force. Those who know me know the fire In my de­ci­sions, what bru­tal force

Ac­com­pa­nies my laugh­ter, what mad­ness Has bit­ten my chest and the black Mas­tiffs bark­ing on my heart.

—It was just a man who knew him­self A man inside and out. A stranger Who ar­rived, saw and loved. The hum­ble Adopted him a cit­i­zen of the is­land. A man bound with hu­man skin.

—And he is still alive and re­mem­bers you.

From Bir­nam Wood (Salmon Po­etry, 2018) Trans­lated from the Span­ish by Hélène Car­dona

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.