poetry post: for World Poetry Day

From De Amor Oscuro/Of Dark Love (1991) by Francisco X. Alarcón – for World Poetry Day:

IV

tus manos son dos martillos que clavan
y desclavan alegres la mañana,
tiernos puños desdoblados de tierra,
dulces pencas de plátanos pequeños

tus manos huelen a las zarzamoras
que cosechas en los campos que roban
tu sudor a dos dólares el bote,
son duras, tibias, jóvenes y sabias

azadones que traen pan a las mesas,
oscuras piedras que al chocar dan luz,
gozo, sostén, ancla del mundo entero

yo las venero como relicarios
porque como gaviotas anidadas,
me consuelan, me alagran, me defienden

XIV

cómo consolar al hombre más solo
de la tierra? cómo aliviar su pena?
cómo llamar a su puerta atrancada
y decirle al oído embocado de alma:

“hermano, la guerra ya ha terminado:
todos, por fin, salimos vencedores:
sal, goza los campos liberados:
la explotación es cosa del pasado”?

qué hacer cuando regrese malherido
con alambre de púas entre las piernas?
cómo encarar sus ojos que denuncian:

“hermano, el mundo sigue igual:
los pobres todavia somos presa fácil:
el amor, si no es de todos, no basta”?

IV

your hands are two hammers that joyful
nail down and pry up the morning,
tender fists that unfold from earth,
sweet bunches of small bananas

your hands smell of the blackberries
you harvest in the fields that steal
your sweat at two dollars a bucket,
they are hard, warm, young and wise

hoes that bring bread to the tables,
dark stones that give light when struck,
pleasure, support, anchor of the world

I worship them as reliquaries
because like nesting sea gulls,
they console, delight, defend me

XIV

how to console the loneliest man
on earth? how to relieve his pain?
how to call through his bolted door
and have one’s soul speak to his ear:

“brother, the war is now over:
all of us in the end emerged victors:
go forth and enjoy the liberated fields:
exploitation is a thing of the past”?

what to do when he returns, wounded
with barbed wire between his legs?
how to face his eyes accusing:

“brother, the world goes on the same:
we the poor are still easy prey: love,
if it isn’t from all, is just not enough”?

Source: Essay “Format and form,” What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics by Adrienne Rich, W.W. Norton & Company, 2003.

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