A Certain Swaying of the Body

— Len Anderson

for Felix de Lola, cantaor Flamenco

The singer holds his cupped hand over his heart.
The deeper his grief, the greater my consolation.

He too was betrayed by the turning of the earth,
which only remains true to its turning.

I envy the clarity of his voice,
the purity of his weeping.

This certain swaying of the body we call song
was taken up long ago by the ocean.

His loss of control is born of discipline
from years of singing in a small boat on the sea.

Now he tells us he is dying in prison.
I can see we are in the same room.

He holds on as long as he can to this note,
but it must pass to make room for another.

Where did I lay my wings when I came in the door?
I may want them on the way out.

I am grateful for this swaying of the body,
that the song will go on after I leave the room.

One thought on “A Certain Swaying of the Body

  1. The soul of this poem is quintessentially Latin, the passion of it, the hurt and pain of it. I too am captivated by Flamenco, how its music sounds so much like crying, how its dance movements are like gestures of grief. This poem has that heart–the heavy, beautiful heart!

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