Sunday, 11 April 2021

And I dreamt that I was a tree - Claribel Alegría

And I dreamt that I was a tree
and all my branches – leafy –
were belovéd of the birds
– and of strangers seeking my shade.
And I too loved my canopy,
as did the wind – and the hawks.
But there came the day when
my leaves weighed heavily upon me,
they blocked out my afternoons
and the light of the stars.
My sap became diluted by
my gorgeous dark-green robe;
my roots were heard groaning
and the trunk of me, how it suffered;
and I began to dis-robe myself,
to shake loose;
I needed to be free of
that profusion of green leaves.
I really shook; and the leaves fell.
Again, more fiercely,
and more leaves fell – along with a certain one I loved:
a brother? friend?
And then there fell right to the ground all the illusions
most dear to me.
My gods fell, my charms, my animating spirits.
Dried up, wrinkled, completely yellowed.
I had hardly any leaves left, four or five at the very most;
and I shook again, in total fury.
The last of these leaves, no, they wouldn’t fall;
like steel helixes they clung to me.

To Carole

Claribel Alegría (1924 - 2018)  El Salvador (born in Nicaragua)
Translated by Alexander Best
Source: Zocalo Poets

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