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"Reclus" by Steve COLLIS
Article published on 12 November 2004
last modification on 23 November 2004

by r-c.
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From the anarchic heart of
Iberian isolation
The solemn beauty of vast districts
They have stones not trees
They have scrub oak
Meagre herbage
Hills as horizons
Of the fearful nakedness
We must speak for
Even swallows must carry their own
Provisions above the hovels
Made of mud and pebbles
Towns the same colour as the soil
The work a collaboration
With the future
At all points a tableau unfolding.
A geography irradiated by anarchy
Secret harmonies between earth and people
And cats who are natural anarchists
Stalk streets in Segovia Salamanca Seville
While Reclus goes amongst others
The theme of the earth and
Universal Brotherhood
Heresy dear and profound
For the wretched of all climates
It is the absence of government
The highest expression of order
That heartens and prolongs
Calling no one master
Until today when we saw the sea
‘You were so moved you
Bit my shoulder till the blood came’
At that moment ‘I conceived to tell
The story of the phenomena of the earth’
Tierra y Libertad
To throw a little ink
On the snow of the Pyrenees
The Empires are committing suicide
They carry within themselves
The seeds of their own dissolution
Here are regions no natural boundaries bar
But are closed to us by our fellow men.
Not a recluse Reclus stood firm
‘I would not accept Theirs
While Theirs accepted office
The Republic Theirs
The tradition of Theirs
That Theirs could be persuaded
Of the triumph of Theirs…’
But ours ours horizons ours
The unfolding lines ours saying
‘I take back my liberty’
Our geography is no place
Instruct insurgents
Pronounce futures ours
Own no clod of earth
For the history of a mountain is
The history of every clod of earth
And everyone in their hearts is
No place bound
I know I know this is
To uplift romantic vistas
From the tops of less than sublime
Barricades but what else but
Undertaking great things
Still only dreams.
I can only find blanks in desire
Reclus wrote on
Land and liberty could be united
The mountain revolts against the sky
It is in spite of us
That it holds itself together
Mountains are bottom up
Repetitions are revolutions
The earth the mountain is
A common home unowned
And listening to wind and brooks
At last we will have disrupted
The inner voice
Comforted to be caught
Between science and utopia.
Then this last
I am no recluse either
Wander where others inside me
Have led feeding off words
I overhear markets shares
Banditry of the soul
Making a weeping that
Will outlast governments
I can only find blanks but
They are beautiful
This small abiding place
Will be free of singleness
No other on earth unknowing
Who want can relieve
These lofty barriers
That aerial fir grove
This lustre
This flourish
Of mountains a venue
Of labour arbitrariness
Of vistas reclamation
The murmuring streams
The many voices
The true community
Of many into one
Of the happy
A resolute few
The fronted multitudes
For this earth stand on a hill
Overlook penury
With delight
Give gesture – fists in air
Not barricadoed evermore
The wide earth
Its own boundaries
Be not useless
Things may flourish left alone
Reclus may be right
The mountains uplift
The lantern alight
Of blood’s brightness
Of a better time
Of desires
Of land without aggression –
Stream genuine freedom
To geographies uphold.
Illustration: Franz Kupka

arrow On web : First published in Kswnet homepage Fall 2003

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