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tearing the rag off the bush again
Selected Poems by Juan Gelman PDF E-mail
From Selected Poems
by Juan Gelman translated by Hardie St. Martin


The woman was like the word never,
a special charm rose up from her neck,
a kind of forgetfulness where her eyes were safe,
the woman settled in my left side.

Watch out watch out I'd scream watch out
but she possessed me like love, like the night,
and the last signals I made that autumn
settled down quietly under the surf of her hands.

Sharp sounds exploded inside me,
rage, sadness, fell down in shreds,
the woman came down like a sweet rain
on my bones standing in the solitude.

She left me shivering like someone condemned
and I killed myself with a quick knife-thrust,
I'll spend all my death laid out with her name,
it will be the last thing to move my lips.

he was born on the brink of a disastrous day
face to face with another just like it but
in the split or opening between the two
he had a kind of warm feeling so

he saw happiness
as a sudden break
in the heart of those identical
doomed barren painful times

when his life was snuffed out
his eyes were soft with subdued anger
or were falling like autumn leaves
in hard transparent sheets

that toured the world
and toured the heart
yet no one breathed a word
to sergeant MacIntire about this

you're alone / my country / without
the comrades you lock up and destroy / you hear
them slowly being emptied of the love
they have left / they loosen their grip   

on their turn to die / dream they're being dreamed / quieted /
they'll never see other faces growing /
leaning out / continued / in this sun /
some day in the sun of justice

and with many birds and their songs in the /
highest part of the mind or head / and rumblings
in it like the sea / or laments /
or winds or movements / suns

that clash / go out / then burn again / or powers
like thousands of animals that track        
up the suburbs of the soul / suffering
terrible ordeals i mean / even so

the soul goes on whole in its quiet state /
or desire / or clear light untouched
by sorrow / scorn / misery /
suffering or ruin / so

what is this peace without vengeance / or memory
of a future heaven / or tenderness
coming down from your hands / spring water
where birds in the highest part of the mind

rally to drink / sing sweetly / or are silent
like light issuing from you / wing
flying softly above war and fatigue
like the flight of passion itself?

1. This word represents "tango" spelled backwards.
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