Monday, September 7, 2020

Tad Tuleja


On the murder of the poet Peppino Marotto
in his home town of Orgosolo, Sardinia

An old man of regular habits, he walked every morning
To the corner, took coffee and a paper, fed a dog
Like the one who scattered wolves when he was a boy.
The shadow of a crow above his shoulder.

He became a communist because in 1945 children
Were starving. A poet because that was the voice
Of this land. A singer because he could or had to.
These roles gave him a certain distinction.

The reports said five or six shots. Identity and motive
Were unknown. Perhaps he knew his killer
Or knew of him. Perhaps it was a distant male relation
Of someone he had offended long ago.

The answer is being washed away just now
By two carabinieri with fire hoses as the dog makes his way
To another table in a town whose name looks like pride
And crows outlive old men.

Tad reads "Crow":

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Tad confesses: "Years ago, while teaching a course on revenge, I came upon this sobering observation: ‘I took revenge after 100 years, but I acted too quickly.’ The pathology of vendetta suggested by that comment was perhaps at play as well in the murder of the Sardinian poet whom I honor here."

TAD TULEJA is a Texas-based folklorist with interests in the Hollywood Western, honor cultures, and the mythology of violence. He has edited books on American vernacular traditions and military culture and has received a Puffin Foundation grant for his song cycle “Skein of Arms.” He performs his songs on YouTube under the name Skip Yarrow.

1 comment:

linhelen said...

Wonderful. Edifying as well. Thank you!