12 04 2009

Right, Comrade, It’s the Hour of the Garden
– Pablo Neruda

Right, comrade, it’s the hour of the garden
and the hour up in arms, each day
follows from flower or blood:
our time surrenders us to an obligation
to water the jasmines
or bleed to death in a dark street:
virtue or pain blows off
into frozen realms, into hissing embers,
and there never was a choice:
heaven’s roads,
once the by-ways of saints,
are jammed now with specialists.

Already the horses have vanished.

Heroes hop around like toads,
mirrors live out the emptiness
because the party is happening somewhere else,
wherever we aren’t invited
and fights frame themselves in doorjambs.

That’s why this is the last call,
the tenth clear
ringing of my bell:
to the garden, comrade, to the pale lily;
to the apple tree, to the intransigent carnation,
to the fragrance of lemon blossoms,
and then to the ultimatums of war.

Ours is a lank country
and on the naked edge of her knife
our frail flag burns.