AN ABANDONED GUITAR
Walking through the backstreets of a large city you come across
an abandoned guitar lying in a drift of leaves. Summer's music is over,
the winter's coming; somehow you see a child lying naked in a cradle
of gold. You walk on and a poem begins to form in your mind...
A big drift of fallen leaves.
An old yellow Spanish guitar
lying in powerful autumn sunlight
in a wide silent backstreet, broken
strings’ coiled spirals like withered
tendrils, seems this afternoon floated down
from some tree whose fruits are instruments:
pear-shaped lutes and round clay drums.
There’s a poem of Gustavo Becquer
my mother once stirred me by reading.
A dusty instrument comes to life;
genius comes out of its own shadow.
A man begins again. Destroyed,
reclining in a gutter of the street,
he stands up and sings, opens his lips,
walks to a rhythm in his head.
Wood which has sung, soon to rot,
wood of the harmonious waves, lost,
only the nightwind rolling over you
makes tremble and somehow arpeggiates
these six girders of song, your doomed
bridge in midair above the soundboard,
as though suspending cables had snapped
when a storm came riding down the coast.
Tonight, most likely, the refuse-truck
will eat the straight grain of this table,
crunch headstock, heel and neck, one
last grotesque crescendo of destruction.
Unless, mysteriously, a child of the ghetto,
passing this fallen angel in golden rubbish
should notice and stop, bend down, some
future god of music guiding his hand.