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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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Title Annotation:LATITUDES
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Article Type:Poem
Date:May 1, 2012
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