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Best Famous Tropics Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Tropics poems. This is a select list of the best famous Tropics poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Tropics poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of tropics poems.

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Written by Les Murray | Create an image from this poem

The Dream Of Wearing Shorts Forever

 To go home and wear shorts forever
in the enormous paddocks, in that warm climate,
adding a sweater when winter soaks the grass, 

to camp out along the river bends
for good, wearing shorts, with a pocketknife,
a fishing line and matches, 

or there where the hills are all down, below the plain,
to sit around in shorts at evening
on the plank verandah - 

If the cardinal points of costume
are Robes, Tat, Rig and Scunge,
where are shorts in this compass? 

They are never Robes
as other bareleg outfits have been:
the toga, the kilt, the lava-lava
the Mahatma's cotton dhoti; 

archbishops and field marshals
at their ceremonies never wear shorts.
The very word means underpants in North America.
Shorts can be Tat, Land-Rovering bush-environmental tat, socio-political ripped-and-metal-stapled tat, solidarity-with-the-Third World tat tvam asi, likewise track-and-field shorts worn to parties and the further humid, modelling negligee of the Kingdom of Flaunt, that unchallenged aristocracy.
More plainly climatic, shorts are farmers' rig, leathery with salt and bonemeal; are sailors' and branch bankers' rig, the crisp golfing style of our youngest male National Costume.
Most loosely, they are Scunge, ancient Bengal bloomers or moth-eaten hot pants worn with a former shirt, feet, beach sand, hair and a paucity of signals.
Scunge, which is real negligee housework in a swimsuit, pyjamas worn all day, is holiday, is freedom from ambition.
Scunge makes you invisible to the world and yourself.
The entropy of costume, scunge can get you conquered by more vigorous cultures and help you notice it less.
To be or to become is a serious question posed by a work-shorts counter with its pressed stack, bulk khaki and blue, reading Yakka or King Gee, crisp with steely warehouse odour.
Satisfied ambition, defeat, true unconcern, the wish and the knack of self-forgetfulness all fall within the scunge ambit wearing board shorts of similar; it is a kind of weightlessness.
Unlike public nakedness, which in Westerners is deeply circumstantial, relaxed as exam time, artless and equal as the corsetry of a hussar regiment, shorts and their plain like are an angelic nudity, spirituality with pockets! A double updraft as you drop from branch to pool! Ideal for getting served last in shops of the temperate zone they are also ideal for going home, into space, into time, to farm the mind's Sabine acres for product and subsistence.
Now that everyone who yearned to wear long pants has essentially achieved them, long pants, which have themselves been underwear repeatedly, and underground more than once, it is time perhaps to cherish the culture of shorts, to moderate grim vigour with the knobble of bare knees, to cool bareknuckle feet in inland water, slapping flies with a book on solar wind or a patient bare hand, beneath the cadjiput trees, to be walking meditatively among green timber, through the grassy forest towards a calm sea and looking across to more of that great island and the further tropics.

Written by Amy Clampitt | Create an image from this poem

Nothing Stays Put

 In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985

The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
The protea of the antipodes—a great, globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom— for sale in the supermarket! We are in our decadence, we are not entitled.
What have we done to deserve all the produce of the tropics— this fiery trove, the largesse of it heaped up like cannonballs, these pineapples, bossed and crested, standing like troops at attention, these tiers, these balconies of green, festoons grown sumptuous with stoop labor? The exotic is everywhere, it comes to us before there is a yen or a need for it.
The green- grocers, uptown and down, are from South Korea.
Orchids, opulence by the pailful, just slightly fatigued by the plane trip from Hawaii, are disposed on the sidewalks; alstroemerias, freesias fattened a bit in translation from overseas; gladioli likewise estranged from their piercing ancestral crimson; as well as, less altered from the original blue cornflower of the roadsides and railway embankments of Europe, these bachelor's buttons.
But it isn't the railway embankments their featherweight wheels of cobalt remind me of, it's a row of them among prim colonnades of cosmos, snapdragon, nasturtium, bloodsilk red poppies, in my grandmother's garden: a prairie childhood, the grassland shorn, overlaid with a grid, unsealed, furrowed, harrowed and sown with immigrant grasses, their massive corduroy, their wavering feltings embroidered here and there by the scarlet shoulder patch of cannas on a courthouse lawn, by a love knot, a cross stitch of living matter, sown and tended by women, nurturers everywhere of the strange and wonderful, beneath whose hands what had been alien begins, as it alters, to grow as though it were indigenous.
But at this remove what I think of as strange and wonderful, strolling the side streets of Manhattan on an April afternoon, seeing hybrid pear trees in blossom, a tossing, vertiginous colonnade of foam, up above— is the white petalfall, the warm snowdrift of the indigenous wild plum of my childhood.
Nothing stays put.
The world is a wheel.
All that we know, that we're made of, is motion.
Written by Lewis Carroll | Create an image from this poem

Fit the Second ( Hunting of the Snark )

 The Bellman's Speech 

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face! 
He had bought a large map representing the sea, 
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.
"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators, Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?" So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply "They are merely conventional signs! "Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes! But we've got our brave Captain to thank" (So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best-- A perfect and absolute blank!" This was charming, no doubt: but they shortly found out That the Captain they trusted so well Had only one notion for crossing the ocean And that was to tingle his bell.
He was thoughtful and grave--but the orders he gave Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!" What on earth was the helmsman to do? Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes: A thing, as the Bellman remarked, That frequently happens in tropical climes, When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked".
But the principal failing occurred in the sailing, And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed, Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East, That the ship would not travel due West! But the danger was past--they had landed at last, With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags: Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view Which consisted of chasms and crags.
The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low, And repeated in musical tone Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe-- But the crew would do nothing but groan.
He served out some grog with a liberal hand, And bade them sit down on the beach: And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand, As he stood and delivered his speech.
"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!" (They were all of them fond of quotations: So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers, While he served out additional rations).
"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks, (Four weeks to the month you may mark), But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks) Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark! "We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days, (Seven days to the week I allow), But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze, We have never beheld till now! "Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again The five unmistakable marks By which you may know, wheresoever you go, The warranted genuine Snarks.
"Let us take them in order.
The first is the taste, Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp: Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist, With a flavour of Will-o'-the-Wisp.
"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree That it carries too far, when I say That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea, And dines on the following day.
"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one, It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed: And it always looks grave at a pun.
"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines, Which it constantly carries about, And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes-- A sentiment open to doubt.
"The fifth is ambition.
It next will be right To describe each particular batch: Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite, From those that have whiskers, and scratch.
"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm, Yet I feel it my duty to say Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm, For the Baker had fainted away.
Written by Czeslaw Milosz | Create an image from this poem

Conversation with Jeanne

 Let us not talk philosophy, drop it, Jeanne.
So many words, so much paper, who can stand it.
I told you the truth about my distancing myself.
I've stopped worrying about my misshapen life.
It was no better and no worse than the usual human tragedies.
For over thirty years we have been waging our dispute As we do now, on the island under the skies of the tropics.
We flee a downpour, in an instant the bright sun again, And I grow dumb, dazzled by the emerald essence of the leaves.
We submerge in foam at the line of the surf, We swim far, to where the horizon is a tangle of banana bush, With little windmills of palms.
And I am under accusation: That I am not up to my oeuvre, That I do not demand enough from myself, As I could have learned from Karl Jaspers, That my scorn for the opinions of this age grows slack.
I roll on a wave and look at white clouds.
You are right, Jeanne, I don't know how to care about the salvation of my soul.
Some are called, others manage as well as they can.
I accept it, what has befallen me is just.
I don't pretend to the dignity of a wise old age.
Untranslatable into words, I chose my home in what is now, In things of this world, which exist and, for that reason, delight us: Nakedness of women on the beach, coppery cones of their breasts, Hibiscus, alamanda, a red lily, devouring With my eyes, lips, tongue, the guava juice, the juice of la prune de Cyth?re, Rum with ice and syrup, lianas-orchids In a rain forest, where trees stand on the stilts of their roots.
Death, you say, mine and yours, closer and closer, We suffered and this poor earth was not enough.
The purple-black earth of vegetable gardens Will be here, either looked at or not.
The sea, as today, will breathe from its depths.
Growing small, I disappear in the immense, more and more free.
Written by David Herbert Lawrence | Create an image from this poem

Whales Weep Not!

 They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.
All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.
The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of the sea! And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages on the depths of the seven seas, and through the salt they reel with drunk delight and in the tropics tremble they with love and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.
Then the great bull lies up against his bride in the blue deep bed of the sea, as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life: and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and comes to rest in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale's fathomless body.
And over the bridge of the whale's strong phallus, linking the wonder of whales the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and forth, keep passing, archangels of bliss from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the sea great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies.
And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale- tender young and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of the beginning and the end.
And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat encircling their huddled monsters of love.
And all this happens in the sea, in the salt where God is also love, but without words: and Aphrodite is the wife of whales most happy, happy she! and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.

Written by John Masefield | Create an image from this poem


 QUINQUIREME of Nineveh from distant Ophir, 
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine, 
With a cargo of ivory, 
And apes and peacocks, 
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus, Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores, With a cargo of diamonds, Emeralds, amythysts, Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.
Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack, Butting through the Channel in the mad March days, With a cargo of Tyne coal, Road-rails, pig-lead, Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.
Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams | Create an image from this poem

from Asphodel That Greeny Flower

 Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
 like a buttercup
 upon its branching stem-
save that it's green and wooden-
 I come, my sweet,
 to sing to you.
We lived long together a life filled, if you will, with flowers.
So that I was cheered when I came first to know that there were flowers also in hell.
Today I'm filled with the fading memory of those flowers that we both loved, even to this poor colorless thing- I saw it when I was a child- little prized among the living but the dead see, asking among themselves: What do I remember that was shaped as this thing is shaped? while our eyes fill with tears.
Of love, abiding love it will be telling though too weak a wash of crimson colors it to make it wholly credible.
There is something something urgent I have to say to you and you alone but it must wait while I drink in the joy of your approach, perhaps for the last time.
And so with fear in my heart I drag it out and keep on talking for I dare not stop.
Listen while I talk on against time.
It will not be for long.
I have forgot and yet I see clearly enough something central to the sky which ranges round it.
An odor springs from it! A sweetest odor! Honeysuckle! And now there comes the buzzing of a bee! and a whole flood of sister memories! Only give me time, time to recall them before I shall speak out.
Give me time, time.
When I was a boy I kept a book to which, from time to time, I added pressed flowers until, after a time, I had a good collection.
The asphodel, forebodingly, among them.
I bring you, reawakened, a memory of those flowers.
They were sweet when I pressed them and retained something of their sweetness a long time.
It is a curious odor, a moral odor, that brings me near to you.
The color was the first to go.
There had come to me a challenge, your dear self, mortal as I was, the lily's throat to the hummingbird! Endless wealth, I thought, held out its arms to me.
A thousand tropics in an apple blossom.
The generous earth itself gave us lief.
The whole world became my garden! But the sea which no one tends is also a garden when the sun strikes it and the waves are wakened.
I have seen it and so have you when it puts all flowers to shame.
Too, there are the starfish stiffened by the sun and other sea wrack and weeds.
We knew that along with the rest of it for we were born by the sea, knew its rose hedges to the very water's brink.
There the pink mallow grows and in their season strawberries and there, later, we went to gather the wild plum.
I cannot say that I have gone to hell for your love but often found myself there in your pursuit.
I do not like it and wanted to be in heaven.
Hear me out.
Do not turn away.
I have learned much in my life from books and out of them about love.
Death is not the end of it.
There is a hierarchy which can be attained, I think, in its service.
Its guerdon is a fairy flower; a cat of twenty lives.
If no one came to try it the world would be the loser.
It has been for you and me as one who watches a storm come in over the water.
We have stood from year to year before the spectacle of our lives with joined hands.
The storm unfolds.
Lightning plays about the edges of the clouds.
The sky to the north is placid, blue in the afterglow as the storm piles up.
It is a flower that will soon reach the apex of its bloom.
We danced, in our minds, and read a book together.
You remember? It was a serious book.
And so books entered our lives.
The sea! The sea! Always when I think of the sea there comes to mind the Iliad and Helen's public fault that bred it.
Were it not for that there would have been no poem but the world if we had remembered, those crimson petals spilled among the stones, would have called it simply murder.
The sexual orchid that bloomed then sending so many disinterested men to their graves has left its memory to a race of fools or heroes if silence is a virtue.
The sea alone with its multiplicity holds any hope.
The storm has proven abortive but we remain after the thoughts it roused to re-cement our lives.
It is the mind the mind that must be cured short of death's intervention, and the will becomes again a garden.
The poem is complex and the place made in our lives for the poem.
Silence can be complex too, but you do not get far with silence.
Begin again.
It is like Homer's catalogue of ships: it fills up the time.
I speak in figures, well enough, the dresses you wear are figures also, we could not meet otherwise.
When I speak of flowers it is to recall that at one time we were young.
All women are not Helen, I know that, but have Helen in their hearts.
My sweet, you have it also, therefore I love you and could not love you otherwise.
Imagine you saw a field made up of women all silver-white.
What should you do but love them? The storm bursts or fades! it is not the end of the world.
Love is something else, or so I thought it, a garden which expands, though I knew you as a woman and never thought otherwise, until the whole sea has been taken up and all its gardens.
It was the love of love, the love that swallows up all else, a grateful love, a love of nature, of people, of animals, a love engendering gentleness and goodness that moved me and that I saw in you.
I should have known, though I did not, that the lily-of-the-valley is a flower makes many ill who whiff it.
We had our children, rivals in the general onslaught.
I put them aside though I cared for them.
as well as any man could care for his children according to my lights.
You understand I had to meet you after the event and have still to meet you.
Love to which you too shall bow along with me- a flower a weakest flower shall be our trust and not because we are too feeble to do otherwise but because at the height of my power I risked what I had to do, therefore to prove that we love each other while my very bones sweated that I could not cry to you in the act.
Of asphodel, that greeny flower, I come, my sweet, to sing to you! My heart rouses thinking to bring you news of something that concerns you and concerns many men.
Look at what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in despised poems.
It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.
Hear me out for I too am concerned and every man who wants to die at peace in his bed besides.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Song of the Cities


Royal and Dower-royal, I the Queen
 Fronting thy richest sea with richer hands --
A thousand mills roar through me where I glean
 All races from all lands.
CALCUTTA Me the Sea-captain loved, the River built, Wealth sought and Kings adventured life to hold.
Hail, England! I am Asia -- Power on silt, Death in my hands, but Gold! MADRAS Clive kissed me on the mouth and eyes and brow, Wonderful kisses, so that I became Crowned above Queens -- a withered beldame now, Brooding on ancient fame.
RANGOON Hail, Mother! Do they call me rich in trade? Little care I, but hear the shorn priest drone, And watch my silk-clad lovers, man by maid, Laugh 'neath my Shwe Dagon.
SINGAPORE Hail, Mother! East and West must seek my aid Ere the spent gear may dare the ports afar.
The second doorway of the wide world's trade Is mine to loose or bar.
HONG-KONG Hail, Mother! Hold me fast; my Praya sleeps Under innumerable keels to-day.
Yet guard (and landward), or to-morrow sweeps Thy war-ships down the bay! HALIFAX Into the mist my guardian prows put forth, Behind the mist my virgin ramparts lie, The Warden of the Honour of the North, Sleepless and veiled am I! QUEBEC AND MONTREAL Peace is our portion.
Yet a whisper rose, Foolish and causeless, half in jest, half hate.
Now wake we and remember mighty blows, And, fearing no man, wait! VICTORIA From East to West the circling word has passed, Till West is East beside our land-locked blue; From East to West the tested chain holds fast, The well-forged link rings true! CAPE TOWN Hail! Snatched and bartered oft from hand to hand, I dream my dream, by rock and heath and pine, Of Empire to the northward.
Ay, one land From Lion's Head to Line! MELBOURNE Greeting! Nor fear nor favour won us place, Got between greed of gold and dread of drouth, Loud-voiced and reckless as the wild tide-race That whips our harbour-mouth! SYDNEY Greeting! My birth-stain have I turned to good; Forcing strong wills perverse to steadfastness: The first flush of the tropics in my blood, And at my feet Success! BRISBANE The northern stirp beneath the southern skies -- I build a Nation for an Empire's need, Suffer a little, and my land shall rise, Queen over lands indeed! HOBART Man's love first found me; man's hate made me Hell; For my babes' sake I cleansed those infamies.
Earnest for leave to live and labour well, God flung me peace and ease.
AUCKLAND Last, loneliest, loveliest, exquisite, apart -- On us, on us the unswerving season smiles, Who wonder 'mid our fern why men depart To seek the Happy Isles!
Written by Robert William Service | Create an image from this poem

The Song Of The Camp-Fire

 Heed me, feed me, I am hungry, I am red-tongued with desire;
Boughs of balsam, slabs of cedar, gummy fagots of the pine,
Heap them on me, let me hug them to my eager heart of fire,
Roaring, soaring up to heaven as a symbol and a sign.
Bring me knots of sunny maple, silver birch and tamarack; Leaping, sweeping, I will lap them with my ardent wings of flame; I will kindle them to glory, I will beat the darkness back; Streaming, gleaming, I will goad them to my glory and my fame.
Bring me gnarly limbs of live-oak, aid me in my frenzied fight; Strips of iron-wood, scaly blue-gum, writhing redly in my hold; With my lunge of lurid lances, with my whips that flail the night, They will burgeon into beauty, they will foliate in gold.
Let me star the dim sierras, stab with light the inland seas; Roaming wind and roaring darkness! seek no mercy at my hands; I will mock the marly heavens, lamp the purple prairies, I will flaunt my deathless banners down the far, unhouseled lands.
In the vast and vaulted pine-gloom where the pillared forests frown, By the sullen, bestial rivers running where God only knows, On the starlit coral beaches when the combers thunder down, In the death-spell of the barrens, in the shudder of the snows; In a blazing belt of triumph from the palm-leaf to the pine, As a symbol of defiance lo! the wilderness I span; And my beacons burn exultant as an everlasting sign Of unending domination, of the mastery of Man; I, the Life, the fierce Uplifter, I that weaned him from the mire; I, the angel and the devil, I, the tyrant and the slave; I, the Spirit of the Struggle; I, the mighty God of Fire; I, the Maker and Destroyer; I, the Giver and the Grave.
II Gather round me, boy and grey-beard, frontiersman of every kind.
Few are you, and far and lonely, yet an army forms behind: By your camp-fires shall they know you, ashes scattered to the wind.
Peer into my heart of solace, break your bannock at my blaze; Smoking, stretched in lazy shelter, build your castles as you gaze; Or, it may be, deep in dreaming, think of dim, unhappy days.
Let my warmth and glow caress you, for your trails are grim and hard; Let my arms of comfort press you, hunger-hewn and battle-scarred: O my lovers! how I bless you with your lives so madly marred! For you seek the silent spaces, and their secret lore you glean: For you win the savage races, and the brutish Wild you wean; And I gladden desert places, where camp-fire has never been.
From the Pole unto the Tropics is there trail ye have not dared? And because you hold death lightly, so by death shall you be spared, (As the sages of the ages in their pages have declared).
On the roaring Arkilinik in a leaky bark canoe; Up the cloud of Mount McKinley, where the avalanche leaps through; In the furnace of Death Valley, when the mirage glimmers blue.
Now a smudge of wiry willows on the weary Kuskoquim; Now a flare of gummy pine-knots where Vancouver's scaur is grim; Now a gleam of sunny ceiba, when the Cuban beaches dim.
Always, always God's Great Open: lo! I burn with keener light In the corridors of silence, in the vestibules of night; 'Mid the ferns and grasses gleaming, was there ever gem so bright? Not for weaklings, not for women, like my brother of the hearth; Ring your songs of wrath around me, I was made for manful mirth, In the lusty, gusty greatness, on the bald spots of the earth.
Men, my masters! men, my lovers! ye have fought and ye have bled; Gather round my ruddy embers, softly glowing is my bed; By my heart of solace dreaming, rest ye and be comforted! III I am dying, O my masters! by my fitful flame ye sleep; My purple plumes of glory droop forlorn.
Grey ashes choke and cloak me, and above the pines there creep The stealthy silver moccasins of morn.
There comes a countless army, it's the Legion of the Light; It tramps in gleaming triumph round the world; And before its jewelled lances all the shadows of the night Back in to abysmal darknesses are hurled.
Leap to life again, my lovers! ye must toil and never tire; The day of daring, doing, brightens clear, When the bed of spicy cedar and the jovial camp-fire Must only be a memory of cheer.
There is hope and golden promise in the vast portentous dawn; There is glamour in the glad, effluent sky: Go and leave me; I will dream of you and love you when you're gone; I have served you, O my masters! let me die.
A little heap of ashes, grey and sodden by the rain, Wind-scattered, blurred and blotted by the snow: Let that be all to tell of me, and glorious again, Ye things of greening gladness, leap and glow! A black scar in the sunshine by the palm-leaf or the pine, Blind to the night and dead to all desire; Yet oh, of life and uplift what a symbol and a sign! Yet oh, of power and conquest what a destiny is mine! A little heap of ashes -- Yea! a miracle divine, The foot-print of a god, all-radiant Fire.
Written by Rafael Guillen | Create an image from this poem

El Cafetal

 I came with the rising sun and I've brought
nothing but two eyes, all I have,
simply two eyes, for the harvest
of grief that's hidden in this jungle
like the coffee shrubs.
Fewer, but they fling themselves upwards, untouchable, are the trees that invidiously shut out the light from this overwhelming indigence.
With my machete I go through the paths of the cafetal.
Intricate paths where the tamags lies in wait, sunk in the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics, the carnal luxury that gleams in the eyes of the Creole overseer; sinuous paths between junipers and avocados where human thought, cowed since before the white man, has never found any other light than the well of Quich; blind; drowning in itself.
Picking berries, the guanacos hope only for a snort to free them from the cafetal.
Through the humid shade beneath the giant ceibas, Indian women in all colors crawl like ants, one behind the other, with the load balanced on a waking sleep.
They don't exist.
They've never been born and still they are dying daily, rubbed raw, turned to wet earth with the plantation, hunkered for days in the road to watch over the man eternally blasted on booze, as good as dead from one rain to the next, under the shrubs of the cafetal.
The population has disappeared into the coffee bean, and a tide of white lightning seeps in to cover them.
I stretch out a hand, pluck the red berry, submit it to the test of water, scrub it, wait for the fermentation of the sweet pulp to release the bean.
How many centuries, now? How much misery does it cost to become a man? How much mourning? With a few strokes of the rake, the stripped bean dries in the sun.
It crackles, and I feel it under my feet.
Eternal drying shed of the cafetal! Backwash of consciousness, soul sown with corn-mush and corn cobs, blood stained with the black native dye.
Man below.
Above, the volcanos.
Guatemala throws me to my knees while every afternoon, with rain and thunder, Tohil the Powerful lashes this newly-arrived back.
Lamentation is the vegetal murmur, tender of the cafetal.
Glossary: Cafetal: a coffee plantation tamag?s: a venomous serpent guanaco: a pack animal, used insultingly to indicate the native laborers ceiba: a tall tropical hardwood tree