Magazine article The Spectator

In Flight from the Green Forest

Magazine article The Spectator

In Flight from the Green Forest

Article excerpt

In the green forest of Petropolis

The Great Lady of the Madrugada

Walked with me the boundaries of her fazenda.

Toucans watched the paths that joined the valleys.

Her great-grandfather freed the nation's slaves

And it had come to this. Every man we met

Had a gun on him somewhere. 'Rufino,

How goes it with the bloodhounds?' They're fine, madam.'

On the wall of the floresta hung quarezmas

Like purple china. In the late evening

I stood on the verandah outside her window

And watched the rain reflect her bedroom lamps

That were never dimmed. Below me on the lawn

Part of the night moved as a man looked up.

I saw his oilskins gleam but not the barrel

Of his matt-black shotgun while he checked me out. …

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