In Mourning

Poem By Algimantas Mackus

1

Right at seven that morning
right then at seven a.m.
it was that morning at seven
death had to have homage shown.

At seven a.m.
national guardsmen
put the city gates up
and at seven a.m.
national guardsmen
draped in black capes
locked the gates shut.

And right at seven a.m.
right then at seven a.m.
all across the city horns blared
a fanfare blood red.

At seven that morning
right at seven a.m.
the national guardsmen
had to stay on guard
for the regime still had to know
where Lorca was buried.

And it was right at seven a.m.
their weapons drawn right then
at seven a.m. the national guardsmen
went in the name of the government of Spain
asking where Lorca was buried
for right on dying the word rises
right then at seven a.m.

So it was right at seven a.m.
the Pope received God
in private audience
because right then at seven a.m.
the regime still had no clue
just where Lorca was buried.

The blood fanfare stiffening
at seven that morning
right then at seven a.m.
got the word to cover up.

So it was right at seven a.m.
a piercing word-fanfare took up
what representatives of all faiths

had trumpets and trombones proclaiming
'There Is No God! '
in greeting the Pope on this occasion.

It was at seven o'clock that morning
right then at seven a.m.
the Pope revoked God
and it was then at seven a.m.
national guardsmen
raised the city gates
for the regime had no word yet
whether Lorca ever was buried.

At seven o'clock that morning
right then at seven a.m.
it was a deathlessness fanfare
trumpets blared past the gates.

So that right at seven a.m.
with no right at seven a.m.
the God who'd been revoked proclaimed
Lorca's resurrection.

It was at seven that morning
right then at seven a.m.
no more right than right then
dead right with no right
right at seven a.m.


2

And I do not want to see
the hands grope in vain for a waist,
as I do not want to see
the space a flattened body makes.

And I do not want to see
the face with its branching cracks,
as I do not want to see
the joint where a wrist pulled apart.
And I do not want to see
the stumbling feet crushed,
as I do not want to see
a body broken off at the waist.
And I do not want to see
the body pieced back as collage,
as I do not want to see
the bloodstream off at its source.
And I do not want to see
the harsh judgement envy insists on,
as I do not want to see
necessity's twisted letter.
And I do not want to see
death's reduced script,
as I do not want to see
the notice of deportation.
And I do not want to see
and end to the irony of exile,
as I do not want to see
a bloody finish to pride.
And I do not want to see
the hands of exile emptying out,
as I do not want to see
any trend in the final cries.
And I do not want to see
fear take the place of courage,
as I do not want to see
a master's death triumph.
And I do not want to see
the bones crumble and flake,
as I do not want to see
nonsense take meaning's place.
And I do not want to see
a master's hands tied,
as I do not want to see
the bloodstream turned off.
And I do not want to see
the palm of a hand sealed inside its fist,
as I do not want to see
the pain that's being clenched back.


3

What I would like is to have the strong
Lithuanian villagers gather here
so their broad fateful hands
pound an oakwood casket together.

What I would like is to have the simple
young farmhands gather here
and cart the oak casket off
with a team of wild stallions.

We will not lift the lid back,
nor let ourselves touch the collage,
dizzy from wax and wreaths
as each lowered head is.
We will not take the body up,
nor carry the casket out,
hard as it is, all speech blocked,
to settle into a cushioned seat.

What I would like is to have the old
Lithuanian mourner women gather here
so their large ripened tears
weep the weeping bowls full.

What I would like is to have the supple
skilled hunters gather here,
slowly tramp all the drifts through,
and track the trail back to wild boar.


4

You landed in a dead landscape
the morning your meeting took place.
Soul bowed its way out of the body
at seven a.m.

I have not stated the blood news.
That morning you met right on time
death shut the blood down
at seven a.m.

You are sure to know now
if the body's exile gets done
for the shade of wreaths sets you up
to conceive of a deathless state.

I have not announced the blood news.
You are to stay lifeless like this,
with a body snapped off at the waist
no one can guess whose it is.

You broke all ties to a natural life
without giving your verdict as to whether
the soul, in order to resolve the body, does
go into exile in the body's place.

Now you are like a boat
run aground in the shallows
the stream hurries past without changing
its indeviable course.

Now to avoid
mindlessness of exile
you present your credentials
to a sovereign crown.

Now you are a citizen
having reached a deathless state
swears allegiance
to the crowned head.

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