Nobody came today to ask me questions,
nor has anyone asked me for anything this afternoon.

I have not seen a single graveyard flower
In all this merry procession of lights.
Forgive me, Master; how little I have died!

César Vallejo (Agape) 1918.

Yesterday I heard the Catalan tongue,
Some eloquent words wafted briefly by,
Lingering only in my memory,
And I thought again of you, an unsung
Hero amongst heroes, I can but try
To record your very special story:
Walking down the Ramblas, I imagine
The cantors of Barcelona singing;
Now I must seek the solitude of snow,
For I shun thoughts of stained shrouds, percaline
And blood-crimsoned; you formed my beginning,
I am but an echo of your greatest show.

Come, Lorca, let’s converse with other
Poets who prosar*, meet every brother.

I suppose he who belongs to the past
Has no season here, no grief to remake,
Or hear a hapless harridan’s lament,
Dawn’s white truth favours not my frugal fast,
Consigned to darkness, my soul I forsake,
As lights, from stars, desert the firmament.
Here no heavenly host hovers on high,
We are alone in this blackened bower,
The lyrics you sung deemed the loneliest,
Vernal vows, we both made, have passed us by.
Great bard, Lethe desired life’s fragile flower,
He who dares to dream, dares to be the best.

From stony limits, set elsewhere, I sing,
And softly: Shadow, bless the gifts I bring.

© Sam Gilliland

*prosar: a medieval term for the composing of poetry.

Residing in Scotland, Sam Gilliland is a champion of Lallans (the Scottish language) poetry and a recipient of Sangschaw’s prestigious MacDiarmid Tassie. With three previous collections of poetry published his work in Scots includes A Rickle O Banes (Penny Wheep Press). Founder/Secretary of Ayrshire Writers & Artists Society the organisation became the home of The Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, to which he devoted twenty eight years of his life as co-administrator and judge.

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4 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    Loved it. But I found one glitsch: “The lyrics you sung” should be “The lyrics you sang,” or else (to put it in present perfect) “The lyrics you have sung, deemed loneliest” might have worked. Standard English grammar, that’s all.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Mr. Gilliland, Your poem’s lyric, polished classicism impressed me greatly as I read and re-read it this morning. It also introduced me to the person, Lorca, to whom I had not been previously introduced. After researching Lorca’s life, his work, and his death, I reread your poem in a new light with new eyes that quickly felt the touch of tears. Thank you for the verse. Thank you for weaving your deepest feelings and thoughts into the poem and sharing it with us. And, of course, thank you for introducing me to Lorca. This evening (if he is open to the idea) I hope to spend some time alone enjoying his company, as one brother with another.


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