In a green street of hedges and vermilion roofs, and gates that creak open into banana yards and doors that groan on the evocation of ginger behind which are the hill with five cresting palms whose long fingers are stirring tropical almanacs darkened with rain over the grey savannahs of zebu and bison and the small chalk temples of an almost erased Asia, and the ovations of cane through which turbaned horsemen carry feathering lances. The cloud-white egret, the heron whose hue is wet slate, move through a somnolence as sweet as malaria to a child whose parched lips are soothed by a servant or his own mother, to the sudden great sound of rain on the roofs, cloudburst of benedictions, dry seas in the ears.
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt Of Africa, Kikuyu, quick as flies, Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt. Corpses are scattered through a paradise. Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries: 'Waste no compassion on these separate dead!' Statistics justify and scholars seize The salients of colonial policy. What is that to the white child hacked in bed? To savages, expendable as Jews? Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break In a white dust of ibises whose cries Have wheeled since civilizations dawn From the parched river or beast-teeming plain. The violence of beast on beast is read As natural law, but upright man Seeks his divinity by inflicting pain. Delirious as these worried beasts, his wars Dance to the tightened carcass of a drum, While he calls courage still that native dread Of the white peace contracted by the dead.
Again brutish necessity wipes its hands Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again A waste of our compassion, as with Spain, The gorilla wrestles with the superman. I who am poisoned with the blood of both, Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I who have cursed The drunken officer of British rule, how choose Between this Africa and the English tongue I love? Betray them both, or give back what they give? How can I face such slaughter and be cool? How can I turn from Africa and live?
The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
São eles "Fare Well" de Walter de la Mare e "The Hulls of White Yachts," do seu mais recente livro "White Egrets". Este momento com o Nobelizado poeta e dramaturgo é-vos oferecido com a cortesia insuspeita da The New York Review Of Books.