For Orlando

29 September 1976

Once I will visit you
he said
in your mountain

blown to pieces
he has come to stay

he lived in many places
and he died everywhere

in this room
he has come between the pages
of open books

there's not a single apple
on the trees
loaded with fruit this year
which he has not counted
apples the colour of gifts

he faces death no more
there's not a precipice
over which his corpse
has not been hurled

the silence of his voice
tidy and sweet as the leaf of a beech
will be safe in the forest

I never heard him speak
in his mother tongue
except when he named the names
of patriots

the clouds race over the grass
faster than sheep

never lost
he consulted the compass of his heart
always accurate
took bearings from the needle of Chile
and the eye of Santiago
through which he has now passed.

Before the fortress of injustice
he brought many together
with the delicacy of reason
and spoke there
of what must be done

amongst the rocks
not by giants
but by women and men

they blew him to pieces
because he was too coherent
they made the bomb
because he was too fastidious

what his assassins whisper to themselves
his voice could never have said
afraid of his belief
in history
they chose the day
of his murder.

He has come
as the season turns
at the moment of the blood red rowenberry
he endured the time without seasons
which belongs to the torturers

he will be here too
in the spring
every spring
until the seasons returning
in Santiago.