Neruda Century

At the water’s edge, in the evening twilight
when the world is spacious and quiet
my blood is an ocean
finding its shore

Far away, on an old phonograph
a haunting melody begins
a Chilean love-song, plaintiff and beautiful

And all along the wide avenues
festive street lamps are lit
as the sea deepens its blue
the foam a brilliant white

The sound of voices grows,
not urgent, but ambling and joyful
And from everywhere the masses gather
filling the public square

Retracing your footsteps
in the streets where you walked,
Infinitesimal being, drunk with
a new geography of self…
We arrive clutching little snippets of verse
in a wide and warm embrace

The poet of the perpetual cup
is one hundred years today
There is dancing and feasting in celebration
there are smiles, greetings, and intimate conversations
round tables and white tablecloths,
wine and song

And we the multitudes of
too many names have lost our shoes

slipped them off, like we slipped time
We are dust or sand
rain under rain,
and the pounding waves
dispense sea spray and starry echoes

July 6, 2005.