Sunday, March 11, 2012

David Antin, "The First Black"

We will know others but this is the first
this is the darkness we will never forget
the darkness of fur of water and earth
this is the knowledge of beasts
of cart horses of cats preening themselves for the night
and migratory birds
it is the knowledge of pregnant women and stones
it is the country whose map is engraved in the palms of blindmen's hands

Its name hovers about the lips of the deaf
the maize knows it and the wheat
diamonds recall it in their seed
works in bronze salute it
fire leaps to its touch
the sun and the moon are the signs of its clemency
and the sea is its boundary
as it is the only source of our salt

1 comment:

  1. Francisco X. Alarcon, trans. William Everson:

    from the moment I met you on the road,
    no more am I the same, no more am I the blind one,
    that trips on his shadow,
    no more am I the deaf one in the landscape

    to follow you lightly I have thrown away
    my cross, I have dismissed the violins
    that always play me melodramas
    now I don't walk, I run on naked feet

    from the moment I heard the sound of your voice,
    all the other words turn hollow on me,
    useless, contorted, spent.

    so I no longer want to write poems
    but to live them with you, that they may be
    arms of a fire far from language