from Ode to the violin in California by Pablo Neruda

Leonard Durso

I sought that violin in the night.
I searched street by pitch-black street,
went house by weathered house,
star by star.
It faded
and fell silent
then suddenly surged,
. . . . . . . . . . .a flare
in the brackish night.
It was a pattern of incendiary sound,
a spiral of musical contours,
and I went on searching
street by street
for the dark violin’s
the source submerged in silence.
Finally, there
he was,
at the entrance to a bar:
a man and his
. . . . . .hungry violin.

The last drunk
weaved homeward
to a bunk on board a ship,
and violated tables
shrugged off empty glasses.
Nobody was left waiting,
and nobody was on the way.
The wine had left for home,
the beer was sound asleep,
and in the doorway
the violin with its ragged
it soared

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