Behind the Sun

Image to support behind the sun poem by Mario Savioni

Blood on the T-Shirt that floats in the
Wind turning yellow as a signal.
Death particulates in the last sound
At recess of the heart.
An eye for an eye leads to a hollow sound and silence.
Each infraction is felt and understood
As a long descendancy in error.
Even as the clouds lift the same hopes
Beguile fate until happiness is granted.
Another day, another time this complexity
Reads of the same cyclical dream
The shirt is taken.
In the hands of a prodigy, the pages turn
In the book, the world is upside down.
So the purpose of life is travel
Down a lane that is treacherous,
“You should follow progress,” the merchant said.
Meanwhile happiness danced on sticks and
Told the children of a circus.
He saw her in the night blowing fire
And swirling flames and there it
Was, he had known love.
She spun it fast and furiously, this
Show to speak the truth of hope and
Promises.
In the night under a half-moon
Hate floated into a mist of tenderness.
Only their destinies were tied to the dry land
Until the gears stuck and the cows fell.
Then they went round by themselves
Faint by the ingrained memory of genes
And the repetitious tasks, a whole life
Of carnage.
Through cactus, under blue sky and white
Clouds, they moved toward Ventura.
You never see the end of this or do you?
And then the face comes to set you free.
In candlelight, “In this house the dead command the Living,” she said.
The beautiful spinning motion of love
Stretches further into light.
She spins for his dreams, a lover’s delight
Spinning wish-fulfilled, the inevitable
Fact of love circulates.
Changing in a voice only they can hear.
In the shadow of daylight, he cannot have
But what he feels.
There is no Ventura for the misfortunate,
All is the subtraction of fate: “One less, one less, one less”
He says of time’s monotone.
I am the servant of day’s unwanted list
A stroke of black lines over a series
Of names.
So he sets his brother to drift in the sky,
The last joy until the bullet comes to spoil
Everything.
They laugh for days as if they
Never remembered.
Joy is a holocaust that hatred promises.

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6 comments

  1. I love this poem. Now I clearly see it is an after based on Brazilian film Abril Despedaçado (literally meaning “shattered April”:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behind_the_Sun_%28film%29), which in turn is based on a novel by Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, about the honor culture in the North of Albania.

    My first reaction reading your poem (without knowing that connection with the film which I haven’t seen) was the following:

    This is a very tragic poem where people kill each other. It talks of blood, death and revenge (an eye for an eye) which could well refer to a question of family honor. The yellow color associated with the T-Shirt that has blood could symbolize the dark meaning of such color: betrayal, egoism and madness, which is actually what happens when people kill each other. Although everything is so dramatic there seems to be some hope. As the poem moves on there is some advice from a merchant: “You should follow progress”, probably somebody wanting to help in order to change this situation, this “lane that is treacherous.” However, the greatest hope in this poem seems to appear with the circus. It is fire and flame leading to love, even though the drama of human hate still goes on. I particularly love these two lines because I think they express exactly the aboved mentioned and are beautifully written:

    “In the night under a half-moon
    Hate floated into a mist of tenderness.”

    I also like the word play with “Ventura” (Latin word for “fortune” that has kept almost the same meaning in the Romance languages such as Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish…), and “There is no Ventura for the misfortunate”. The evil fate repeats itself, it does not change throughout time, so the brother is killed by a bullet and joy is a holocaust which is a contradiction. How can one find joy in killing others? Therefore, I think I can see a clear intention from you as the author in this last line. Your intention seems to be that of wanting to arouse rebellion in the reader against this unacceptable and unfair human behavior.

  2. Hello! My name is Amanda, and my job partner Marta gave me your poem to practise English and improve my knowledge. I’ve read it and I think that it’s a beautiful poem also a little bit sad. It talks about a love story that will never succeed because the situation in that place seems not to allow love stories. I think that this poem is telling us the truth, the reality about a context. It touches me.

    • Thank you Amanda. I think love, like Romeo and Juliet, leaks out of the cement cracks of our hard existences. There is a lot of pressure on us to merely survive and over time as we get older and our bodies ache and scream, yes love seems less and less like something we desire, and I say this as a compliment to human beings. We don’t want to burden others with our pain. We often feel less than lovable. I am so glad that the poem touches you. If it is the same for me, as when I read T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” I am on my knees thanking you. That is what I have always wanted.

  3. After having read this poem three times I see it as a great metaphor of life and of the passing of time, incredibly beautiful. The last line of the poem has especially touched me, “the holocaust”, where I feel that behind the sun and the light there is always death or destruction. It is like a chain, in which good and evil are the face of a same coin. Only love is a fountain of happiness and hope, but there is always pain behind. This is a wonderful poem, philosophical, and full of metaphors that seem woven by the thread of bitterness and despair. I love how words draw what love is, which can only be heard by the two lovers and nobody else. This is the plain truth. Never quit writing because you have the most beautiful magic a poet may have: the words.


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