Alabanza

There are some poems that just connect cultural tissue, acknowledge pain with an eloquent voice, and honor the fallen with dignity.

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100 by Martín Espada  

for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 100, working at the Windows on the World restaurant, who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center

 

Alabanza. Praise the cook with the shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza. Praise the cook’s yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.
  
Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, Republica Dominicana,
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh…
Read more at Poets.org 

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Misc.

2 Comments on “Alabanza”

  1. David Hall
    April 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Thanks for this poem and for making me remember…

    • April 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed this poem. It is special, and it does make me remember too…

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