The Wages of the Profane — (Paris, Geneva, Mexico, New York, 1984-1992)

Selected Poems of Juan Gelman
translated by Hardie St. Martin

Courage
          to José Angel Valente

Word that is extinguished when we breathe or name its impossibles, bones that burned to give it shade, palate that ended in spittle; what had been body now burns out to let the horizon take form.  A verse works its way into poetry and, around the world, the slimy dawn is a forest of blood.  Or are those the footsteps of terrified Death?  There are no more cities of refuge, Cedes, Arama, Asor have sweating brows, their swallows fled to the trees of the sun.  Now everything is birth.