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The Chilean Episode

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The Chilean Episode

Two thousand feet in the belly of the earth
So near the opulence of golden ore
And so far the poor man's dream of worth
From the falling sweat of toil
Around the Chilean house
The wringing hands toll in silent prayer
This early subterranean image rise
Before the stark and brimming eyes
Of thirty three souls in the chasm of purgatory cast
Held rigid for sixty nine days of fast
From food, family, freedom to choose
And the narrow ledge
Over the collective precipice of hope.
 
Testing all Dante's vision here
And proving false a deeper perfidy
Than exploitation of a working class
There is no vulnerability like being poor.
The limits of mortality
Assigned us, no other boundary knowing
Yet one day short the chasm keeps
Behind the pace of prophetic analogy
Of three score years and ten.

Out of the dungeon carved for greed 
A sudden caving in of hell
Yet stubbornly resisting, the church bells chime
Joyfully again, another salvation thrilled with grace.
The Andean anxiety capsuled sink
Hanging from the edge of a nerve
Binding tautly the national frame
Our ingenuity is a hope of resurrection too
Again and again through misted eyes
And suddenly the tension drained of silence
Through the river of men
Broke in a flood of cheers.

This is not 20,000 league beneath the sea
Nor a giant leap 
For workers scraping rocks for bread
The only fiction is the process
That continues to hold life ransom for some
No new belief will come
Like dragon's breath consuming the cruel past
No utopia shall rise
Outside the shadow of the cross
The earth travailing in our dread
Bring forth their souls
Thickening the umbilical bond
So much
After sixty nine days, the adaptation urges
The heart to keep its place
And they convicted will descend again.

We seek in life still a quite familiar space
In all the changes we taunt with ambition
We keep our old environment
Of prohibited movements and meager conditions
All hope long  
Praying for a little escape
Why else would some still shock fettered
Declare ... to addicted applause
We shall soon go under again.
My soul rejoices today
To see the grave defeated impromptu 
Pumping the heart in victory. I celebrate
The upswelling of faith,
The certainty in the heart when we pray
The big news of good
Out of the dismal events of his coming
The final exultation
When the trembling mountains tumble
Broken feathers and unbroken screams
And I
Looping in the cradle of light
Confirm my new birth
Above the eagle's flight; 
And all the miners safely home at last.

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