Sunday, January 25, 2009

THE FUNCTION OF THE PUREST GRASS



at each moment sorrow grows in the world,
it grows thirty minutes per second, step by step,
and the nature of sorrow is double sorrow,
and the condition of martyrdom, carnivorous, voracious,
is sorrow, double sorrow,
and the function of the purest grass, double
sorrow
and the joy of living we suffer from doubly.

-- Cesar Vallejo, "The Nine Monsters"


The function of the purest grass
is to wait for a wind to rake it, for the sun to explore it
and kill it, for summer wildfires to use it
as a path and leave little of the path behind,
to wait, to tremble, patient and forlorn, for thunder
to fold down into it and clouds to roll rain down each blade.

The sad singer, the murderer, the lover
who is the bright eradicating one -- they pass like grass.
The shiver, the loss, the comfort moving deep
through the flesh, the trespass that opens its abyss --
transpire like the wavings of grass.
And the war beginning and the war over,

and the dance of uncanny joy through the streets --
happen while sorrow grows like grass.
Grows more and more pure and more and more vast.
And remains -- it flies free, returns, remains. And might remain,
the prayer inside prayers, though everything
we know, including grass, is gone.

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