Grether Web Services

Wild Noise

Posted on: 8/17/2003

by Morgan S. Grether

Oh, the wild noise of Madrid is louder, more
Full of life than any individual,
No matter how frenetic.  Streets all shake from cars
And trucks, but most of all there is the force of feet,
Pedestrians, those endless, rolling waves of them,
The sounds they make, the voices of the city. It
Is mad, a chaos yet a harmony, as there’s
A chorus to it all, and while a single voice
Cannot be registered, those crowds together hum
And howl and so can’t help here but be heard; they roar,
And, singing day and night, they hold their single parts
Together in amalgamation. People come
To merge their voices in this chorus, being one
With it to lose themselves, the winding of their souls
A perfect mirror to the winding of the streets,
Those narrow calles at the center of Madrid,
All spiraling out from Puerte del Sol, a thrashing squid’s arms.

July rolls by.  Thermometers read 41.
We pant like dogs and wander round the stony ways
From shade to shade, as weights of pasts on pasts push down
On us more than the scorching air, from recent days
With clumsy bombs of northern separatists that light
The night when eyes are tightly closed and show us now
The Fascists’ shadows rest on every army guard
Who leans against a government building wall, as well
As every tourist bus that leaves the city for
The Valley of the Fallen, ice-cold monument
To nation-love gone wild, near in every way
Except in time to El Escorial,  where grand inquisitors
Spewed hate to save their faith four centuries ago,
Which brings us further back to yet another war
Of Spanish Christian soldiers swirling scepters, flags
Unfurled, while burning walls of alcazars to make
A nation out of tribes… Now all these memories
Rumble past us, go down streets, up walls, through thoughts
To join the chaos like the rest of us; they join
This city’s wild noise, to shimmer in the white
Hot light that is all colors mixed as one, then fade
Like all of yesterday’s now fading goodbye kisses.