Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DEAD GALLOP, by NEFTALI RICARDO REYES BASUALTO

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DEAD GALLOP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Like ashes, like seas breeding into themselves
Alternate Author Name(s): Neruda, Pablo
Subject(s): Absence; Death; Grief; Mourning; Separation; Isolation; Dead, The; Sorrow; Sadness; Bereavement

Like ashes, like seas breeding into themselves,
in the sunken slowness, in the formless,
or the way one hears from high up on the roads
the strokes of a bell crossing in a cross,
having that sound already separate from the metal,
confused, acting heavy, working itself to dust
in the same grinding place of forms so far away,
or remembered or not seen,
and the aroma of the plums that rolling to the ground
are rotting in time, infinitely green.

All of that going so fast, so lively,
but still not moving, like an idle wheel spinning on itself
those wheels in motors, that is.
Existing like the dry stitches on the seams of a tree,
quieted, all over the place, in such a way,
all the limbos mixing up their tails.
That is, where to? or from? or on what shore?
The ceaseless, uncertain spinning, so silent,
like the lilacs all around the nunnery,
or when death comes to the tongue of an ox
who falls headlong (look out!) and his horns want to blow.

So therefore, in the motionlessness, stopping oneself, looking around,
then, like an immense fluttering of wings, overhead,
like dead bees or numbers,
aw, that thing my white heart cannot enclose,
in great numbers, in tears that barely seep out,
people trying so hard, miseries,
black deeds suddenly uncovered
like frost, huge disorder,
sea-like, for me who comes in singing
as if carrying a sword among unarmed men.

OK then, what is it makes up this rising of doves
that runs between night and time like a wet ravine?
That sound that's gone on so long
that it falls scattering stones on the road,
or better, when only one hour
suddenly starts growing and keeps on growing forever.

Inside the ring of summer
one time the huge gourd-plants pay attention—
stretching out their compassionate leaves—
out of that, out of the thing that needs so much from itself,
out of the fullness, plants darkened with heavy drops.

First Published in The Kenyon Review, Volume 23 #2 (Spring 2001).

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