Cantos, by Serafín Roldán.

  Fragment E

A small dog and I
Just standing together
on the sidewalk
looking at the people
that pass by.
I pat him on his small head
and he looks up at me a bit disturbed
with bright shining eyes,
friendly but reserved,
perhaps, thinking of what this means.
Both of us enjoying
the company and the scene.
He might think, maybe,
"I wonder why this man has patted me?"
I say,
"No doubt, this dog has class and personality."
But nothing is said out loud.
I pat him again,
and this time he doesn't question anything.
We both stand looking at the street and the people.
And ever so often I look down,
and he looks up at me.
He seems so secure and proud,
so bold and self assured
so fearless and sure of his actions.
I excuse myself and tell him
that I need to leave,
but he just looks at me
a bit confused.
I feel so very sorry
to leave him,
but my life must continue
and so must his.


  Fragment H

A thousand birds are trapped
somewhere in the past.
Not speaking.
Not moving.
Placed over the sacrificial rock.
Der faustische mensch.
Spengler and his decadence.
Der volksgeist is initiated as a national honor,
but terminates in disgrace
and semitic genocide,
" ... a mouthful of bread
and a spoonful of snow."

Let's come together comrades,
for today we shall celebrate
the end of the war
that will end all wars.
And soon we will be returning.
And soon we will be ...
And soon we ... soon we

Yes we left behind our minds
in the dense jungle behind
under monsoon rain
and dusty trails
of cuchi and da nang
and ashau valley behind.
("hermanito, ¿qué te pasa que no me hablas como antes?")


  Fragment V

(couldn't find it in Brewer's)
Many people are nincompoops.
The world is full of them.
Leaders of great cities and villages,
including other great celebrities.
with dunce hats and crowns,
vicars and the lot.
Que payasada!

The land is overrun by them.
Justice is stifled.
Democracy is a farce.
(oops! missed the wrong key and hit tab)

Rousseau adds fuel to the fires of sturm und drang.
Goethe probably reads spies faustbuch.
Poor fellow strangled by the devil in württemberg,
but God himself said:
"es irrt der mensch, solang er strebt".
At least we have the assurance that all is not lost.
Even though werther's pistols pack him out,
and weltschmerz and ichschmerz constantly besiege us,
we shall not be turned but reach Paradise struggling.
Y no te olvides del columpio de Fragonard.
O de la dulce poesía de Klopstock.

Serafín Roldán is a folklorist, librarian, and poet/storywriter. He has been teaching English language and literature for some 20 years in Puerto Rico. His first language is English: he was brought up in Chicago and New York City, and he used to walk 42nd Street from East to West.

Please write to him in care of Offcourse.

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