In the middle of the road there was a stone
there was a stone in the middle of the road
there was a stone
in the middle of the road there was a stone.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade
The roof is stone.
The walls are stone
and the night.
The ground is stone
and the railings.
The hearts of men looking outwards
made of stone.
I too, dying
in this long night
when animals could talk,
to say freedom was not sad,
to say truth was like a river,
to say love,
to say friend,
was the same as referring to spring.
No one knew of insults.
When animals could talk,
men would sing in the evenings
of doves of light and goldfinches of dream.
To say yours and mine was not comprehensible,
to say sword was prohibited,
to say prison was only a word
without meaning, a breath which missed
the heart of the people.
when was it lost,
that great Kingdom?
We wanted freely
to eat our daily bread. Freely
to bite it, chew it, fearlessly digest it,
freely talking, singing on the banks
of rivers freely running down to the sea.
we wanted only
to be freely men, to be stars,
to be sparks from the great fireplace of the world,
to be ants, birds, boys,
in the Noah’s ark on which we row.
We wanted freely to smile,
to speak of it to God in the passing wind
– in the long wind of the woods and plains –
without fear, without blackness, without chains,
without sin, freely, freely,
like the air of the morning and spray.
Like the wind.
But this our difficult love was broken
– the glass of a fragile dream –
on a reef of screams
and now we are no more than shadows.
Translated from Galician by Jack Hill