Woodstock Poem by Javier Campos


I wasn’t at Woodstock in August 1969
among these peaceful green hills
a summer day about this same time
when it rained three days straight and all that wet
didn’t rust the electric guitars
or short out the microphones
or drown the singing and the speeches
that blared out of gigantic speakers
rooted on stage like dark trees

There weren’t any lightning bolts to reduce into ashes
the hundreds of performers
who made the most deafening noise
ever heard
for miles around these pastures
where for decades all you could hear
were the cows’ moo
the horses’ whinny
the tractors’ whine
or the corn
spill out of the big metal silos
erected toward the Universe
as monumental phallic symbols
(No one worried either what might have been going
through the minds of the tight-lipped farmers,
the same ones Walt Whitman described in
Leaves of Grass,
when they saw a half a million people descend
on these hills
where nobody knew about sounds or songs that didn’t
come from Nature herself)

During those three days there were thunderstorms
and the horses of the Apocalypse were visible in the sky
and down below, the sea of humanity moved like Noah’s Ark
in front of the monumental stage
lashed by the tempest

The steam from young bodies
rose like a torch in the rain
thousands of blonde men and women, all danced
as in a dream:
Blacks from Harlem, Chicanos from the San Joaquin Valley,
or poor Puerto Ricans from New Jersey
Embraced young Indians drinking
cans of beer
or hugged prophets, gurus, bums, psychics,
street musicians
and acrobats

The fragrance of marijuana wafted
to and fro on the wind
hash and peyote also went up into the sky
in a spiral of holy smoke
watched by thousands of eyeballs in flames

Rain fell like cataracts
in the fields of grass and dirt
and made artificial lakes
where everybody splashed naked
let their beautiful bodies
sink in slow motion
and baptized themselves with water from the sky
as if they were humble prophets
from distant civilizations
hidden under the earth forevermore

They embraced transparent
from a mysterious inner light
they went in and out of those artificial lakes
with purified hearts
cleansing the filth from their souls
they believed they were touching the mere origin of the Universe
they made love on the muddy grass
and no one asked
anybody anything
nobody pointed at them either
nobody called the police who watched from a distance
in their black and white squad cars, with flashing lights
like whips of fire.

(No one in that multitude ever knew
the National Guard
had a hundred helicopters
waiting behind the hills
to bombard them with tear gas
and transform that promised land
into a Holocaust)

But they all knew
Paradise there

The bands kept coming up on stage
and the performers
dueled with the thunder and lightning
as if they were the very bombs
that at that same hour



It’s the same place today
and it’s raining like it did in August ‘69
only a stone and metal marker remains
to recall the bedazzlement that held a whole generation
for three days

Fresh flowers are always there
and someone never fails to leave a little bag of marijuana:
that grass was their only native weapon
and those sacred leaves
the only ones

where stoned they saw the origins of the future.

(Translated from Spanish by Nick W.Hill)

Trade Martin 27 June 2008

Interesting work my friend....! ! !

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Javier Campos

Javier Campos

Chile, now in USA
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