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Sunday, March 18, 2012

TO SEE HER AGAIN, After Gabriela Mistral's Love Poem's

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After Gabriela Mistral's Love Poem*

And never, never more to see her form,
Not even a glimpse of her,
Not in the nights filled with trembling stars,
Or at noon when bright light
Feeds and graces every living thing,
How do I believe that I may never see her again?

Never, never, again, to witness her walking
Upon the kicked up dirt of the bridle path,
Along the river, underneath the shadow of trees,
Never, her body, her feet, leaping up, then to trod
The white-washed stones of the causeway?

I wonder if she remembers the bridge, the one
Topping the low-rise concrete dam,
I told her as we looked to the river below
That nothing had sufficient strength,
That no material exists to control the overflow,
Is there nothing to contain my flood of feelings for her?

How else might I relate my mood?
Ask the pertinent question?

Never, never, again, to eye her fleshly presence,
Entangled, standing in the tresses of the forest,
Or stooped to gather strawberries
Picked from rows and rows of fruit in the truck-farm field?

And here at home I forget I walk big-city sidewalks,
Yet while the night, the late hours envelop me,
My cries echo, repeat my anguish.

Through the empty parking lots and off the brick walls,
Against building after building,
My voice carries, yet it registers with no one.
Though some stare and wonder,
Shake their heads from side to side at my sorry spectacle,
Most walk past, eyes down, as if I do not exist, yet
Over and over, I hear myself implore her to return to me;
Should I not, and is it not better to forget her?

Oh, no! To see her again,
Not important, makes no difference, where,
It does not matter when
-- My, my I beseech Mercy to grant my wish! --
If today I should see her against a deep, blue patch of sky,

Or perhaps tomorrow in the vortex,
Within the swirling ocean power,
The whirlpool force which carries all kinds of debris,
When a ship and all its glory sinks,
Down, down into the Sailors’ Locker,
Would it be possible that image of her still surfaces,
Though all else disappears, though sun has set,
And moon light is the scene's sole illuminate?

Oh, no! To see her again, and to view her in the moment
When the volcano opens
And I am there before the lurid, red hell-mouth,
And witness its demons’ roaring spew of steam and ash.

Yet I do not flinch, I am steadfast,
I have no fear of misadventure.
I look into the conflagration.
I do not plug my ears, I listen,
And from within earth’s deep, far-away core,
Amidst the Hurley burly of all the explosions,
Within the lightning claps and clamor,
The mad noise of boulders being thrown
I hear it! I hear her name, Etta, Etta!
I see her face and lovely shape,
She, she dances above the fires!

Yes, I admit her deviltry besets me.

And to be with her in all the spring times,
And in all the winters,
Entwined in paroxysm of mighty-muscle clench,
While I suck up the blood from her neck,
And spot her flesh all over,
Make it black and blue with the power of my caresses,
Should I ever hold her in my arms,
Might Hope let me see her again.

*The Chilean and Noble Prize for Literature, poet, Gabriela Mistral had entitled her poem Volverlo a Ver, "To See Him Again". I address my poem to a woman. I know some Spanish but do not hope to translate her great poem. Yet hers was the inspiration for my own verse. Here and there I adopted some of her imagery, words and phrases, though the overall sense and sensibility of Mistral's poem, I believe, are different from my own.

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