ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW RED TREES, Martín Espada

When I heard Martín Espada read his voice was a powerful baritone.  Espada is a scholar for the people who knows that poetry like bread is for everyone, and when in doubt, quote Whitman, “I contain multitudes.”

ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW RED TREES
 
When I see the red maple,
I think of a shoemaker
and a fish peddler
red as the leaves,
electrocuted by the state
of Massachusetts.
 
When I see the red maple,
I think of flamboyán’s red flower,
two poets like flamboyán
chained at the wrist
for visions of San Juan Bay
without Navy gunboats.
 
When I see the flamboyán,
I think of my grandmother
and her name, Catalán for red,
a war in Spain
and nameless laborers
marching with broken rifles.
 
When I see my grandmother
and her name, Catalán for red,
I think of union organizers
in graves without headstones,
feeding the roots
of red trees.
 
When I stand on a mountain,
I can see the red trees of a century,
I think red leaves are the hands
of condemned anarchists, red flowers
the eyes and mouths of poets in chains,
red wreaths in the treetops to remember,
 
I see them raising branches
like broken rifles, all the people
who are now red trees.”
 
-Martín Espada, Imagine the Angels of Bread
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under manifestos, poems, protest song ancestors, truth speakers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s