ROSAL

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Green leaves white flower

white moon

I think of soft black hair

framing a bony face, and pain

like burning coal

sears my mind’s fingers.

Because I have seen too much

of suffering among our people

to ever forget what I must love

and hate

how can I say I love you still?

You have turned your back

on this noble undertaking,

this one thing that is pure

and beautiful in our lives,

this epic war for freedom.

So how can I say I love you still?

Yet it is true

your memory like darkness

loath to flee before the dawn

is with me still–

a ghost, a monstrous demon

that must be exorcised!

I wake up mornings

in a dream of doubt:

Shall I have strength enough

to win this fight?

Next year shall this broken bush

bear new white blooms?

Wind from the southwest blows

warm and gentle kisses

upon the sierra’s tips.

The sea is sweetly calm.

The kalaw’s call

is like a bugle song

summoning the new day.

I must take heart

from all this serene joy!

History marches ever forward

Our people shall have peace

and victory shall heal

each battle wound

with the fragrance of

white flowers.

 

-Lorena Barros

June 1975

 

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