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Cambodia

Bruce Cockburn
Language: English

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Scritta nel 1999 e non pubblicata.
Abe Lincoln once turned to somebody and said,
"Do you ever find yourself talking with the dead?"
There are three tiny skulls carved from mammoth tusk
On the ledge in my bathroom
They grin at me in the morning
When I'm taking a leak
But they say very little.

Near Phnom Penh there's a tower
Panelled, thirty feet high
With skulls from the killing fields
Most of them lack the lower jaw
So they don't exactly grin
But they whisper as if from a great distance
Of pain and of pain left far behind

18,000 empty eyeholes looking out at the four directions
Electric fly buzz, green moist breeze
Bone-colored brahma bull grazes
Wet eyed, hobbled in the hollow of mass grave
In the neighboring field
A herd of young boys play soccer
Their laughter swallowed in expanding silence

Pray for all of us that have ever been
As history's phases wax and wane
In the long planet seasons' flow
Pray for all who come
And all who go

Set in amber trail dust
Big black scorpion squats
Poison spike poised
Giant snaking roots of gum trees
Consumed strones of Angkor Wat
Roofless temple corridors clad
In bas-relief of battle scenes
Carved a millenium ago

Stand like rumors, like whispered tales
Golden sword of royal power stolen
Gone these 700 years
Sun will soon slide into the far end of ancient reservoir
Orange ball merging with its water-borne twin
Billow air-brushed edges of cloud
But first, it spreads itself a golden screen
Behind fractal sweep of swooping fly catchers
Silhouetted dark green trees, blue horizon
Fluid curving God-horn buffalo
Knee deep in flooded paddy
Motionless...outside time

Pray for all of us that have ever been
As history's phases wax and wane
In the long planet seasons' flow
Pray for all who come
And all who go

The rains are late this year
The sky has no more tears to shed
But Cambodia remains a disc of wet green
Bordered by bright haze
Water-filled craters
Sun streaked gleam laid in strings
Across patchwork land
500- and 1000-pound bombs
(small and medium you could say)
They march west toward the
Distant hills of Thailand
Macro version of Phnom Bat King's
Precipitous stare on ancient library walls
Spackled with the rash of AK rounds
.762 by 39 pits
You can fit a finger in

Sacred scrolls long gone
And under the sign of the 7-headed cobra
The Naga who sees in all directions
Seven million landmines lie terraced in grass,
In paddy, in bush
Best to call it a minescape now
Sally held the beggar's hand and cried
At his scarred face and absent eyes
And right leg gone from above the knee
Tears spot worn stone causeway
Laterite guardians frown or smile

Pray for all of us that have ever been
As history's phases wax and wane
In the long planet seasons' flow
Pray for all who come
And all who go

Contributed by Alessandro - 2009/5/26 - 11:36



Language: English

Versione pubblicata nel 2003 nell'album "You've Never Seen Everything"
Abe Lincoln once turned to somebody and said,
"Do you ever find yourself talking with the dead?"

There are three tiny deaths heads carved out of mammoth tusk
on the ledge in my bathroom
They grin at me in the morning when I'm taking a leak,
but they say very little.

Outside Phnom Penh there's a tower, glass paneled,
maybe ten meters high
filled with skulls from the killing fields
Most of them lack the lower jaw
so they don't exactly grin
but they whisper, as if from a great distance,
of pain, and of pain left far behind

Eighteen thousand empty eyeholes peering out at the four directions

Electric fly buzz, green moist breeze
Bone-colored Brahma bull grazes wet-eyed,
hobbled in hollow of mass grave
In the neighboring field a small herd
of young boys plays soccer,
their laughter swallowed in expanding silence

This is too big for anger,
it’s too big for blame.
We stumble through history so
humanly lame
So I bow down my head
Say a prayer for us all
That we don’t fear the spirit
when it comes to call

The sun will soon slide down into the far end of the ancient reservoir.
Orange ball merging with its water-borne twin
below air-brushed edges of cloud.
But first, it spreads itself,

a golden scrim behind fractal sweep of swooping fly catchers.
Silhouetted dark green trees,
blue horizon

The rains are late this year.
The sky has no more tears to shed.
But from the air Cambodia remains
a disc of wet green, bordered by bright haze.
Water-filled bomb craters, sun streaked gleam
stitched in strings across patchwork land and
march west toward the far hills of Thailand.
Macro analog of Ankor Wat’s temple walls
intricate bas-relief of thousand-year-old battles
pitted with AK rounds

And under the sign of the seven headed cobra
the naga who sees in all directions
seven million landmines lie in terraced grass, in paddy, in bush
(Call it a minescape now)

Sally holds the beggar's hand and cries
at his scarred up face and absent eyes
and right leg gone from above the knee

Tears spot the dust on the worn stone causeway
whose sculpted guardians row on row
Half frown, half smile, mysterious, mute.

And this is too big for anger.
It’s too big for blame
We stumble through history so
humanly lame.
So I bow down my head,
say a prayer for us all.
That we don’t fear the spirit when it comes to call.

Contributed by Alessandro - 2009/5/26 - 11:38



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