Hibiscus, blossoms waving shadow
on white Church walls, blank as
death’s weeping erasure.
Walls clean as penitent sugar-men
taking Christ’s body into their own.
Hungry men filled with linguica,
quick to cut stalks, to pluck joy
from the five-stringed rajczo,
fret-fingers jumpy as fleas.
Strong ones gone, Madeira lost as
cane gave way to Crazy Shirts,
as Daishi built 88 shrines.
As sugared malasadas stir craving
at the shack in Lihue. As jokers
mumble: one Portoogee…
Bones as dry as geranium leaves
deep in the riotous cluster,
far from the flower-pots of Lisbon.
Each bloom a wonder till puckered.
Till buds in a silent untwisting
glorify white wall and sky.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
FOR THE PORTUGUESE BURIED IN PEACE AT ST. RAPHAEL’S