Lines Written while Listening to Victor Jara


for Marc Villá


I’m listening to a bad recording of Victor Jara

and even with all the distortion the voice

is clear as the sun shining crystalline

after days of rain.


There was a time when only

this voice could summon me from the void,

when I cherished his words as a monk does a Bible verse:

“no creo en nada, sino en el amor de los seres humanos.”*


Now I’m alone in the graveyard of my library,

yet the sun warms the cold room

as the voice of a dead poet warms my heart,

so full of despair this winter day.

Strange how something so transient as music,

ideas written on paper and bound in a book,

or echoes of a voice long silenced,

can outlast stones, rocks, bullets or bones.


*I don’t believe in anything but the love of human beings



Clifton Ross

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