Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday's Poetry: "The Warrior's Resting Place"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton, the son of an outlaw and a nurse, managed to cram a lot of life into his forty short years.  In addition to being a formidable literary figure, Dalton was also a journalist, lawyer, soldier, political activist, and Communist revolutionary.  He was twice sentenced to be executed before being saved at the last minute - once by a sudden change of government, and the other time by a fortuitous earthquake.   He was murdered in 1975 just four days before he would have turned forty.

Roque Dalton's public persona has been rehabilitated over the past few years, and his image currently appears on postage stamps of his native El Salvador.   His two sons are still active in Latin American politics.

Many of Roque Dalton's poems deal with love, social activism, and death - three significant elements of his tragically short life.  One of his most popular verses is called simply, "Love Poem."  The following piece,"The Warrior's Resting Place" focuses on the other two elements.

Dalton is credited for observing that "Poetry, like bread, is for everyone."  His poems feed the mind and the soul.

The Warrior's Resting Place
by Roque Dalton Garcia

The dead are getting more restless each day

They used to be easy
we'd put on stiff collars flowers
praised their names on long lists
shrines of the homeland
remarkable shadows
monstrous marble.

The corpses signed away for posterity
returned to formation
and marched to the beat of our old music.

But not anymore
the dead
have changed

They get all ironic
they ask questions.

It seems they've started to realize
they're becoming the majority!

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