The Great Tablecloth.
When they were called to the table, the tyrants came rushing with their temporal ladies, it was fine to watch the women pass like wasps with big bosoms followed by those pale and unfortunate public tigers. The peasant in the field ate his poor quota of bread, he was alone, it was late, he was surrounded by wheat, but he had no more bread; he ate it with grim teeth, looking at it with hard eyes. In the blue hour of eating, the infinite hour of the roast, the poet abandons his lyre, takes up his knife and fork, puts his glass on the table, and the fishermen attend the little sea of the soup bowl. Burning potatoes protest among the tongues of oil. The lamb is gold on its coals and the onion undresses. It is sad to eat in dinner clothes, like eating in a coffin, but eating in convents is like eating underground. Eating alone is a disappointment, but not eating matters more, is hollow and green, has thorns like a child of fish-hooks trailing from the heart, clawing at your insides. Hunger feels like pincers, like the bite of crabs, it burns, burns and has no fire. Hunger is a cold fire. Let us sit down soon to eat with all those who haven't eaten; let us spread great tablecloths, put salt in the lakes of the world, set up planetary bakeries, tables with strawberries in snow, and a plate like the moon itself from which we can all eat. For now I ask no more than the justice of eating.
English translation by Alastair Reid. First published in Weathering: Poems and Translations. [c]1988 University of Georgia Press.
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|Publication:||Americas (English Edition)|
|Date:||May 1, 2012|
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