quinta-feira, 16 de agosto de 2012

III Gwenn Ha Du

I remember the song they would sing
all the way home from the Woodside, my uncles and cousins,
tarred with the mines and the shipyards, cradled in smoke
and bawling it out, on rain-deadened streets and wynds,
to hear the echo turning in the stones
like déjà vu

-------------- and still I live in hope to see
the holly ground once more -

what they were looking for, then,
was another beginning,
the black that occasions white, the white in black,
an older soul, exhumed from the flesh and bone
to carry on the ancient narrative
of manhood as a song, the savage joy
of bagpipe music, pagan memories,
a host of kinfolk rising from the sea,
a house looming out of the fog
and becoming home.

I think now of their disembodied love
and that animal sense I share, in the nerve and the bone
of something urgent, straining from the veins
of holy ground: the hard quotidian;
pit-shafts and docks, harbours and open meadows,
the gap in the hedge, the whisper of running water,
an acre of fog and brambles where something I lost
returned in another form, and was barely remembered.

No permanence is here; no planned Imperium;
this is the holly ground, where nothing happens,
a place we can take for home, when we understand
that it cannot be held, it cannot be taken or given:
egret and cormorant, ibis, the shore birds and waders;
the Japanese tourist; the girl from the waterfront bar;
the clan ghosts and latter-day saints, and the self-appointed
keepers of song and war; the unblinking dead:
everything passes through - but the passing through
is what we think of, now, as sanctuary;

and, sometimes,
nothing will happen:
the world that was ebbing away turns back on itself,
a gust of wind, the sidestreet bagadou,
children's voices
gathered in a cypress;
what matters now is not the narrative,
what matters is not the event, but the light-frayed hem
of the moment's annunciation;
what matters is the point where nothing matters:
the gap in the hedge, an acre of fog and brambles
and how the sacred - hard quotidian -
returns to us in songs and superstitions,
an ember that burns in the nerves and the reasoning brain,
a guttering flame, that nothing will ever extinguish -

John Burnside, Gift Songs, Cape Poetry, 2007

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