Saturday, September 3, 2011


Sleepwalk Ballad

Green I want you green.
Green wind.  Green branches.
The ship on the sea
and the horse upon the hill.
With her waist wrapped in shadow
she dreams on her veranda,
green flesh, green hair,
with eyes of frozen silver.
Green I want you green.
Beneath the gypsy moon,
things keep watching her,
and she cannot see them.
Green I want you green.
Huge stars of frost
appear with the fish of shadow
that opens the way for dawn.
The fig tree rubs the wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the thicket, a theiving cat,
bristles its sour spears.
But who could be coming?  And from where?
She lingers by the railing,
green flesh, green hair,
dreaming of the bitter sea.
—Brother, I want to trade
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your quilt.
Brother, I come bleeding
from the Cabra passes.
—If I could do it, young man,
that deal would be closed.
But I am no longer myself,
nor is my house my house.
—Compadre, I want to die
a decent death in my own bed.
Of steel if it can be,
with sheets of Dutch linen.
Don’t you see the wound
that runs from my chest to my throat?
—Three-hundred dark roses
adorn your white shirt-front.
Your blood reeks and oozes
about your sash.
But I am no longer myself,
nor is my house my house.
—Let me at least go up
to the high railings.
Let me go! Let me go up
to the green railings.
Balustrades of the moon,
where the water thunders.
The two men go up now
toward the high balustrades.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of tears.
On the rooftops
tin lanterns were trembling.
A thousand crystal tambourines
wounded the dawn.
Green I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two men went up.
The long wind left in the mouth
a strange taste
of mint, of gall and of sweet basil.
Brother!  Where is she?  Tell me,
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you!
How many time she would wait,
fresh cheeks, black hair,
on this green veranda!
Over the face of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swaying.
Green flesh, green hair,
with eyes of frozen silver.
An icicle of moonlight
suspends her above the water.
The night grew intimate
like a small square.
Drunken civil guardsmen
were pounding at the door.
Green I want you green.
Green Wind.  Green branches.
The ship on the sea,
and the horse upon the hill.

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