house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Ode aos Companheiros

To: Bugui, Miriam, Paulo, Ruth, Cesar, Jorge, Ivan, Silvia, Juandra, Ruth, Dani, Noelia, Jamie, Sandra, Federico, Miriam, Cristina, Antonio, Donald, Eleanor, Tita, Elsa.

One day in April,
when the youngest plum tree - not much more than a stick with a
handful of leaves
of luminous green -
explodes and vanishes into clouds of breathless blossom...

You say 'I have this idea.'
Oh, your ideas.
Larks, demented by sunlight, following their own never ending song,
Puppets pulled upwards by the immortals, to play with the moon,
Arrows, flint-capped and fierce, flying, seeking the end of wars..
Oh, your ideas.

You say, 'I have this plan.'
And now I start to worry.
Because one never knows what beanstalks
would grow from such strange seeds.

Because your plan
arches so high,
rainbow over Neverland
and who
really knows the way to that place?

Your plan refuses to see
the way things are,
and won't consider
the world around
our exhausted, cynical selves.

You lift my words like skittles
and line them up against the wall.

People will be busy.
It's a weekend after all.
and we're all tired.
They hardly know us.
Why would they come?
Where will they stay?
What can they do?
What? Where? Why?

Then you take aim
and the ball is rolling
the clock is ticking
It's Friday afternoon.

You gather supplies
carrots and lettuces,
tomatoes tumbling inside the shadow of the day.
a barrel of olives,
a jar of honey,
melons, apples, plums
loaves of bread
nuts, cheese,
red wine,
A Greek banquet waiting for the gods.

But who will come?
Worry and hope in equal measure
inhabit my sleepless hours
birds locked in a dark barn.

Friday afternoon melts into Saturday morning
and they are here.
More than twenty. They cross a river.
A border. How many barriers? So many...
And they come.

They set up tents and pick up tools
They work and work: in the garden,
around the ruins of the old alambique,
in the kitchen, at the garage,at the river.

They dig and clean and plant
they pull weeds and drag branches
they mix earth and lime
and mend a wall
and build another
they wield spades and carry stones
and move mountains.

You will say (I know, because I did)
'This just doesn't happen these days.'
Neighbours won't come to help.
Friends will be busy.
Family? Too far away.
And no one, no one, no one
will work for free.

As of today, I will say
You're wrong.
You're wrong.

because I know what happened
at the end of April 2010,
on our land, in our garden.
Bright images inhabit my sleepless hours
Sparrows darting across the sky.

I saw how they carried earth and boulders
muscles straining, sweat pouring
in the fist of hard labour,
in the first embrace of summer

how they stood shoulder to shoulder to build terraces
to plant gardens, to tame the granite
in the unchanging glare of the sun,
in the long languid lapping of hours,

And reinvented our world before nightfall.


At 30 April 2010 at 22:02 , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4 August 2010 at 22:52 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

somehow i happened upon this. magical
chimpo, yes i shoulda been there.


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