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The drowned

"If there was fire, it would burn the earth;
If wind, it would raze it;
If water, it would drown it;
If God, he would sink it."
Cecco Angioleri (1260-1313)

"And with my eyes I listen to the dead."
Francisco Quevedo

There’s a dead man in the depths
of the sky who can’t get out
or drum the way he wants to
because it’s raining outside
and everything is drowned.

That’s why he strokes his forehead,
his cheeks, his three-day-old beard
and walks in circles
round his coffin, looking sideways
at the blue alpaca coat
without blinking
because outside it’s raining and everything
below the sky is drowned.

And the drowned watch
the dark water drift towards
the unreachable depths of a red sunset
and they lean, they stretch on their side to listen,
they walk on tiptoes
because below the dogs are howling
in the place where mud is born.

And if there was wind
and it razed it;
and if there was fire
and it burnt everything?
someone asks
at the sky’s request,
on behalf of the dead.

But I listen to the dead
singing into the small hours
and the drowned of the final
kingdom paddling about,
their souls in their arms, howling
from one side to the other of the sky.

And if there was wind
and it razed it;
if there was fire
and it burns everything?
asks the poet.

On behalf of the howling dogs
and the bones,
at the light’s request,
and on behalf of
all the dead of this world
who can’t get out
or play the drums  the way they like
or the castanets
because outside wild rain is falling
and everything is drowned.

barra azul

© 2009 Jorge Palma - labrador@jorgepalma.com.uy - www.jorgepalma.com.uy