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Child and leopard

If with a mere
snap of the fingers
I could prevent you from suffering...
Or with my shoulder
brush aside your obligatory quota of pain;
the iron clouds that are
destined for each of us,
whether you move this way or that
will drench us in either case.

Neither can I teach you
what fear is, since sooner or later
you’ll understand it yourself,
though maybe you’ll manage
to endure it in some
less dramatic  way
than did your parents
grandparents, and distant ancestors
whom you will never meet.

Maybe then you will discover
that you’ve got saved up for you
a real fistful of wrinkles
and premature grey hairs
that come like a factory stamp.

For now I watch you drawing
with the assurance of a pure artist
driven only by the dazzling
of a world you’ve just begun to know.

Outside the leopard goes by,
silent and hard as a diamond.

Meanwhile, my daughter,
I look after your wings
and pray that you don’t miss anything,
especially air and likewise
your joy which I defend
at whatever price
though it cost me my own light.

This is the time
we are summoned to live.

Outside the room
the leopard goes by
and the square where the hammocks swing
is empty.

It’s cold
and I watch you drawing
on the misted glass of your window:
a house with its chimney,
a flower,
a yellow bird crossing
(so you say)
the sky of your room.

And I can’t teach you
what fear is or stop you
from suffering, my dearest one, even if I drag
the sky and its clouds
somewhere else,
even if I take in
your share of destined rain
with this body wasted by love and years.

All the same
I’ll try with a snap of the fingers
and see if I succeed.

barra azul

© 2009 Jorge Palma - -