- More for Santob(de Carrión 14th -c. Castile)
1. everyone’s so high
Everyone’s so high on “Yes.”Nothing has made me happier, though,than the day I asked my lover ifshe had “another”—and she said “No.”
2. spell in praise
A choir of quatrains in praise of the servantwho asks of me nothing for what he does.
For years he’s afforded me spectacular favors,as though in fact he served out of love. [End Page 111]
He somehow bears— though slight in stature—the weight of the world within his words,
and blind he sees what I hold in mind;deaf he absorbs what I’ve not yet heard.
He knows what I want before I’ve spoken,and without speaking says who I am.
And so I’ve done as my debts demanded,and sung for this spell in praise of the pen.
3. how friends act
Is anything better than a pair of scissors,which separates those that separate them?
They do this not because they’re bitter,but out of desire to meet again.
When they’re joined, they do no harm—hand to hand and lip to lip;
only when parted can they destroy—that’s how strong their loyalty is. [End Page 112]
Those who’d learn what brotherhood means,and how friends act when all is done,
should watch as scissors make one of two—and when they have to— two of one.
4. for being born
For being born on a bush of thornsthe rose is certainly worth no less—
nor should wine be scorned that’s finebut comes from lesser parts of the vine.
The hawk is likewise no less blessedbecause it was born in a humble nest—
and proverbs aren’t less noble or truefor being spoken by a Jew. [End Page 113]
Peter Cole’s most recent book of poems is the The Invention of Influence (New Directions), which is dedicated to María Rosa Menocal and from which “More for Santob” is reprinted.