The indomitable drive for beauty
I watched from a bus stop across the street as he played only for himself. No busker, he held no hat out, asked for nothing. Just played his cold notes on the wind. Across town, a newborn baby, born to an unhoused mentally-ill mother, died from exposure.
January rough times, when the indifferent
noon makes its equation in the sky.
Like wine in a glass, a hard gold
fills the earth to its blue limits.
Rough times of the season, like little grapes
distilling green bitterness,
the hidden confused tears of the days, swelling
in clusters, till bad weather lays them bare.
Yes: seed-germs, and grief, and everything that throbs
frightened in the crackling January light
will ripen, will burn, as the fruit burned ripe.
And our problems will crumble apart, the soul
blow through like a wind, and here where we live
will all be clean again, with fresh bread on the table.
From Cien sonetos de amor, translated by Stephen Tapscott.
I read this poem as a wish. May it be so. May all be clean again. May everyone, everywhere, have a place to live, with fresh bread on the table.