Thursday, 8 August 2013

The child of the moon

after Pablo Neruda

You were the child of the moon.
The world boomed and pumped iron.
It didn’t give a fig for your presence.
But when bright rails were put down,   
years ago and more, you didn’t feel
the cold shoulder; nor did the sky
weigh on your crammed heart – not
one movement or gesture of yours
was invested in the pounding powers
or the town that clattered into being.

You were the child of the moon
and you never raised a finger or a toe
in the race, in the spectacle of what
they let fly at bright Aldebaran,
at Galbalgrab or Rigel. And for the low,
who could only see and hear and follow,
you suffered pains beyond astronomy -
no sobbing allowed, no falling stars
in your verse, but your life-sap spent
on white, on dust, on the stone years.

You were the child of the moon
and you neither mined nor minded ore,
nor cut wood - the world was never
yours: it’s for diggers and grifters,
for the builders of big buildings;
mortar binds their coming and gives
strength to their designs, to the work
of hands stained by mud and blood,
so you have no air to shout out loud.
And this makes you the child of the moon.

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