some poems

La sombra del ala / The shadow of the wing

by Amado Nervo, translated from Spanish, first published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal

You who think I don’t believe
when we two feud
do not imagine my desire,
my thirst, my hunger for God;

nor have you heard my desolate
cry that echoes through
the inner place of shadow,
calling on the infinite;

nor do you see my thought
laboring in ideal genesis,
frequently in distress
with throes of light.

If my sterile spirit
could own your power of birth,
by now — I would have columned heaven
to perfect your earth.

But tell me, what power stows
within a flagless soul
to carry anywhere at all
its torturer — who knows? —

that keeps a fast from faith,
and with valiant integrity
goes on asking every depth
and every darkness, why?

Notwithstanding, I am shielded
by my thirst for inquiry —
my pangs for God, cavernous and unheard;
and there is more love in my unsated
doubt than in your tepid certainty.


the road home

first published in Avocet

The mountains, faded like a bruise
against late sky, were mute while whispered hues

glowed on their brim. The sky’s flushed hem
hung down and hushed the mountains.

The fields had been wrenched open
by the ploughmen.

They were obscured: only my knowledge
of them under noon light, dredged

with blades, broken in simple lines,
still shaped their immanence out of the blind

land. High overhead and huge and spare
a sickle moon swung: the whole weight of air

was garnered in its curve.
Paler and sharper blue, dove

grey and thunderhead, star-rinsed,
quenched — the sky gradated.

The mountains though immense looked low and small.
Only a grime of heavier material.

Only a handful.