Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EL GALLO, by WITTER BYNNER



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

EL GALLO, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They waited, sleeping, on the plaza benches
Last Line: I laughed aloud, joining bright earth with earth.
Alternate Author Name(s): Morgan, Emanuel
Subject(s): Music & Musicians


They waited, sleeping, on the plaza benches
Until we woke them to the moon at midnight;
And then between the whitened walls they followed,
Playing and singing. A violinist joined them.
We had never seen him before; he had been in the fields.
From one of the houses came a clarinet
And down from the moon a dozen blanketed figures . . .
And we danced folk-dances in the market-place.

With half the night before us and no more bottles,
We knocked at several doors, naming them brother,
and then at a shuttered window and called it darling,
And we saw it come open with the light of a candle;
Shakes of the head, entreaty, no relenting,
Someone asleep there in the room behind her;
Eyes in the moonlight, lips of silent laughter,
And at last through the window a bottle of pomegranate wine.

Later she came herself and opened a booth
Under the stars; and on a charcoal fire
Heating the water for our cinnamon-tea,
She poured into every bowl a little glass
Of alcohol and gave new draughts of life
To the driver of the bus, a shoemaker,
Seven musicians, three soldiers with their guns,
A boot-black and a boatman and ourselves.

After our cinnamon-tea with its alcohol,
We carried the blacksmith harpist to his bed,
And, making sure that he was sound asleep,
We spent an hour on the cobblestones
With serenades to the blacksmith's beautiful daughter . . .
And then we sang, with twenty-seven songs,
Good-night to the moon, good-morning to the sun,
And pled our friendship to the point of tears.

From my western balcony-window, I watched the light
Deepen under solid leaves along the hill
And under ledges I had never seen
On the mountain-range and sharpen the sides of boats . . .
And so it had been under my ribs with music
And with wine, a lovely deepening of the light
A body carries on its own small hill:
I laughed aloud, joining bright earth with earth.





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