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This poem is taken from PN Review 87, Volume 19 Number 1, September - October 1992.

Three Poems Santiago Sylvester

SANTIAGO SYLVESTER was born in Salta, Argentina in 1942, but has been living in Madrid for the last 14 years. He has published eight books of poetry and a collection of short stories. He was editor of the review 'Estaciones'.


When she offers her vegetables
the woman has the voice
of a sailor shouting: Land!
it rises above the bustle
of the marketplace,
it washes over fruit and cuts of meat.

In the fishmarket -
because of the smell of the sea, maybe,
and that necessary image of shipwreck -
the voice becomes harsh and encompassing;
from the pulpit, it exhorts sailors
to save their souls.

There are days of buzzing disorder,
with uproar in the streets

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