Best known for Don Quixote.
At the Catafalque of King Philip II in Seville
Miguel de Cervantes
I swear to God such grandeur frightens me.
I’d pay good money to describe it well;
for whom would this great structure, all this wealth,
not hold in wonder with its awesome spell?
By Christ alive, each part of it is worth
more than a million; isn’t it a shame
that it won’t last a century — Great Seville! —
triumphant Rome in zeal and noble fame.
I’ll bet the very soul of this here corpse
just to enjoy this spot today has quit
that heaven where he endlessly resides.
A braggart overheard these words and said:
“Oh, Mr. soldier, what you say is true.
And anyone who says it’s not, he lies.”
And then, quite suddenly,
he checked his sword with care, pulled down his hat,
he looked away, moved on, and that was that.
About Cervantes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Rita Dove
Back when the earth was new
and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things
hadn’t had time to stick;
back when the smallest breezes
melted summer into autumn,
when all the poplars quivered
sweetly in rank and file . . .
the world called, and I answered.
Each glance ignited to a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life,
swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.
I was pirouette and flourish,
I was filigree and flame.
How could I count my blessings
when I didn’t know their names?
Back when everything was still to come,
luck leaked out everywhere.
I gave my promise to the world,
and the world followed me here.
Rita Dove, “Testimonial” from On the Bus With Rosa Parks. Copyright © 1999 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc..
Source: Poetry (January 1998).
Africadian Petition (1783)
BY GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKE
The Snows is iron set in.
The times act not as it Were.
Snared in snapfrost Nofaskosha:
We’s Dis Gusted by govvermint,
We be hauling Hardships long as pines—
George Elliott Clarke (Photo credit: pesbo)
whips which you Putting
to us here Since we be breathing
And Luvving. Goddam lashings harp
our Crimsoning hirt.
Your Onnour verry well knose
wheather Ragerlations shell change,
shift, for our Sattersfaction.
You forgit us, so we be Nothing—
Like rain, Sobbing over water.
Is there any Nourishmen,
such as Oat meal Molassis
a Littl Wine and Speerits
to Heet our Harts?
Is there Sum Sope
to scour up
your Cownsil’s muddying Lyes?