Primo capitolo della rubrica “Le altre lingue” dedicata al Canada anglofono. Il poeta selezionato da Antonio D’Alfonso è Linda Rogers. Buona lettura.
Linda Rogers (1)
Linda Rogers, Canadian People’s Poet and past Poet Laureate of Victoria, British Columbia is a poet, novelist, journalist, song writer, editor and grandmother of four. She writes and cooks without recipes, from the heart. It is the passion for human stories and human rights that carries her and her work forward. Her latest book is Bozuk, a Turkish journey, from Exile Editions.
I am sending five poems which represent the importance of poetry to me. I think of poems as photos, framing moments in time, the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people who affect the world in significant ways: Lecia Evans, the drowned child, Muhammed Ali, Nelson Mandela, Ai Weiwei, all modern heroes – are one handful.
Linda Rogers – five poems
PROTESTER IN BATON ROUGE
for Lecia Evans
There are no silver
doves in this story,
no swan chariots, no
raptures, only a girl
in a summer dress,
Wind Flower rising
up from the killing
field, rubbing the
grain of sand in her
eye, a Gnostic truth:
courage is knowing nothing
matters that is only matter.
There is no memory before
language, but who will forget
the sound of her silence,
anemone, seeded in blood,
leaning into the storm, never
breaking, first in a string of
moons: black pearl, white
pearl, sister after sister,
every one mother to every
child born in troubled water,
every one exhaling, holding her up?
THE BLUE DRESS
For anon child
On the Poya, or full moon day, the photographer took his parents to a shrine by the sea to pray, as was their custom. The beach was crowded with tourists, some of them Buddhist, some of them sun worshippers lying in bronzed rows on the sand.
On the first drive by, he saw wire fences surrounding rich peoples’ gardens, and beggars who would have been tempted by the papayas in their trees and silks blowing on their clotheslines. On the second drive by, he noticed a blue dress hanging from one of the fences. He watched as the first waves brought fish to the shore and saw laughing children run home with the catch in their hands. It was a miracle. On the Poya, or full moon day like the ones when Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and died, the earth moved and the ocean delivered food to the hungry. When he stood on his car to take pictures, he saw shirts hanging like prayer flags on many fences to celebrate this holy time of reflection. A few frames later, he saw the pale sunbathers tossed at the high tide line. When the floodwaters carried him and his camera down the road past the rich people’s houses, he realized the shirts & dresses hanging on fences were not laundry or flags or dolls woven among the barbed wire. They were arms and legs and faces strained from the angry floodwaters the way whales capture fish in their teeth. The little blue dress was a child who may or may not have been playing in an enclosed garden. What does it matter now which side of the fence he was on when the big wave struck?
for Muhammed Ali
“When they go low, we go high”
Past the white
noise, the crowd
the sound barrier,
all we hear is the
sound of wings,
tasting sky gardens,
sweet, the beat,
a little sugar,
We hear him floating,
head first, a capella,
up to the holy high
place, his mouth an
surprised by glory,
his soft shoes following
up the angel stairs,
and soul coming back,
free at last.
THE GO-AWAY BIRD
for Nelson Mandela
Madiba waits in the sunshine,
bleaching out, they say, the
same process for everything
grown in this blood-soaked
terroir, as grapes, pinot noir,
blanche, become champagne,
underground/under water, breathe
bubbles in film going backwards,
the story of soil that produces
prophets and proverbs, books
written back to front, its pages
turning, translucent as wings,
indistinguishable from the grizzly
clamour of seabirds, Valkyries,
shades of grey.
This is my choir, he thinks, the sound
of feathers dipped in light, words
for the leaving shrouded in mystery,
misery, mist, the invisible truth of
beginnings and endings, sipping
music, almost always arpeggios,
every note a drop of water dissolving
in his resonant mind, walking on air,
stepping up to freedom.
Madiba circles the harmonies, the
blending of black voices, white voices,
angels, birds, tail-feathers rapturing
up from painful thorn bushes, the
grey Go-away bird of the bushveld
leading the singing.
BREATHING THROUGH SILK
for Ai Weiwei
Trust the dissident artist;
he knows heads crack as
easily as sunflower seeds
and schools built on sand,
where fragrant Sichuan spices almost
cover the stench of corruption and death.
He spreads out one hundred million
porcelain seeds, each one perfectly
painted. Will that be enough to feed
the souls released in the Great Leap
Forward and Chengdu Earthquake?
There are one hundred million
reasons to walk in his shoes,
footsteps of ghosts who went
before him, as carefully as ants
avoiding diatomaceous earth
and resolute heroes swimming in circles.
The mornings Ai Weiwei,
arrested for truth, sipped thin
soup in prison, we broke bread
on the rocks where circling gulls
opened their beaks to drop and
smash their invertebrate food –
where every story’s a sacrament,
one thing becoming another.
Never Sorry, Ai Weiwei,
breathing through silk, does
not apologize for the toxic
dust that rises from his hand-
made breakfast of martyrs,
seeds fired in crematoria and painted
by bereaved One Child Mothers.
He knows the breath exhaled from
graveyards and mouths full of
broken teeth is the wind of change.
In copertina: Linda Rogers (Photo: Kathleen Hay ©).