José Tolentino Mendonça

(1965 / Machico, Madeira)

Stone Crop - Poem by José Tolentino Mendonça

What do the explorers,
the wayfarers, pilgrims we'd thought had long since disappeared,
the Berbers, the nomadic herders
and the exiled
say to people like us whose law is of the letter and testament
not of the unknown necessity
which moment by moment
is revealed

Beyond us, where they live, there's a ghost language
which accommodates what no language
can say:
the photons generated by the stars' clashing
how the antelope wends its way through the orthography
the yellow that returns to the rugged slopes
after the heavy snows

Translation: 2006, Richard Zenith

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 18, 2017

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