Tarzan, My Body, Christopher Columbus

Tarzan, My Body, Christopher ColumbusNow that I accept my death
Looking through the window at May light
As gentle and sweet as the breath of God
Descending to caress us, I remember
The words of that young stranger,
His eyes shining, that boy, who
Said to me, as if he had just discovered
Treasure or—why not say it—glimpsed
A new world, 'My Lord, allow me to kiss the hand
Of the greatest man of the age,
The true Emperor of the East.'
And I, who have conquered countless domains
Just as the summer light conquers this world,
While the summer sun plunges toward us openmouthed,
Now I recall his words,
For Emperor suggests that I have conquered
Other worlds, opened other routes,
Carried the love of God, borne this banner
And planted it in the heart of every man.

—From "Christopher Columbus: Reflections on His Deathbed (A Collage)"

PRAISE FOR Tarzan, My Body, Christopher Columbus

Jaime Manrique"This is a splendid liturgy, a text that is epic, subjective, hallucinatory, and tranquil. A major poem, the kind of poem that almost no one writes anymore, it is a tribute to the adventures and temptations, both spiritual and material, of one of the central figures in the chaos of Latin America."
—From the Introduction by Reinaldo Arenas

"U.S. poets seldom essay a manner as magisterial and romantic as Manrique's.... Of the non-Spanish poets he acknowledges in a prefatory note, he is most like Whitman, but calmer and so historically informed and affectionally secure...that he brings Cavafy to mind."
—Ray Olson


Bilingual edition. New York: Painted Leaf Press, 2001. Translations by Edith Grossman and Margaret Sayers Peden.

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The text of this book is also available from Alexander Street Press.