O urso

Night, Death, Mississippi

A quavering cry.
Screech-owl? Or one of them?
The old man in his reek
and gauntness laughs

-- One of them, I bet --
and turns out the kitchen lamp,
limping to the porch to
listen in the windowless night.

Be there with Boy and the rest
if I was well again.
Time was. Time was.
White robes like moonlight

In the sweetgum dark.
Unbucked that one then
and him squealing bloody Jesus
as we cut it off.

Time was. A cry?
A cry all right.
He hawks and spits,
fevered as by groinfire.

Have us a bottle,
Boy and me --
he's earned him a bottle --
when he gets home.

Then we beat them, he said,
beat them till our arms was tired
and the big old chains
messy and red.

O Jesus burning on the lily cross
Christ, it was better
than hunting bear
which don't know why
you want him dead.

O night, rawhead and bloodybones night

You kids fetch Paw
some water now so's he
can wash that blood
off him, she said.

O night betrayed by darkness not its own

O poema "Night, Death, Mississipi", de Robert Hayden, poeta maior do qual já cá deixei "The Whipping" e "Soledad" não oferece uma leitura fácil e isenta de perturbações. É um poema dramático, de uma perspectiva inesperada. Trata-se da perspectiva de um membro do kkk demasiado velho para se juntar ao filho e acompanhá-lo num linchamento. Lamenta essa circunstância, (Be there with Boy and the rest/If I was well again), e aguarda o filho com uma garrafa que será a recompensa pelos seus feitos. Na segunda parte do poema, assistimos ao retorno do filho que descreve a experiência como algo melhor do que caçar um urso. "Them we beat them, he said/beat them till our arms was tired(...) Christ, it was better/than hunting bear"). É já não o pai que lamenta mas o filho que se vangloria.
"What motivates Paw and his clan is indicated in Hayden's oblique but telling allusion to William Faulkner's "The Bear." However, whereas Old Ben is such an admired and loved symbol of the wilderness, of freedom and courage, and of the fruitful earth that Sam Fathers and the McCaslins sham-hunt him for years and destroy him only when he turns on the exploiters of the earth, Hayden's hunters kill their prey out of vengeance and the grisly thrill of blood-letting (...)" [Robert Hayden: A Critical Analysis of His Poetry]

Hayden intervém em choros isolados, perplexos, pontuais. Quando se retira, ora ouvimos o pai, ora o filho, ora a mãe. Quase juntos, lemos "Jesus", por referência ao negro espancado, e depois "Christ". " O segundo feito interjeição. "Porra, foi melhor do que caçar ursos" poderá ser o sentido deste "Christ, it was better/than hunting bear".

"Worst and most convincing of all is the extent to which the element of initiation is realized. By focusing on the lynchers' point of view, Hayden gets near the core of how such ritual terror could not only be practiced but handed down to the next generation. All in the household are conditioned to treat the returning lynching father with the reverence due a hero whose words and actions protect the tribe." [The Oxford Companion to African American Literature]

Aterradoras, no final, as palavras da mãe, coadjuvante, que ordena aos filhos que vão buscar água para que o pai se possa limpar do sangue que lhe mancha no corpo e, adivinha-se, a alma. É a promessa da continuidade.

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