Tomorrow Triumphant

ANTONINO THE POET
When Spartacus
rose against the powerful
nobles of Imperial
Rome,
there came to him,
so say the chronicles,
a man named
simply Antonino,
a poet of the strongest reputation,
and he told Spartacus he olso wanted to struggle
for the slaves.

Seeing that evening was coming
from the quiet sloping hillsides
of Vesuvio,
Spartacus
told the young Antonino:
“Better yet, show us you song,
Antonino,
the struggle can be carried out by anyone,
but no one but you
can create from words
the beautiful blue birds
that our brothers need
so very very much.”

And Antonino responded:
“Even the birds with the sweetest song,
Spartacus
defend their freedom
with their talons.”

That day, in the distance,
The Roma earth
received a stupendous
and ripe summer,
it was the most beautiful
of that era,
and the wind
passed then,
through those places
as it would always continue to pass.
The sky, wide and celestial,
was filled with eyes
that saw written
in that sky a single,
colossal word: Hope.

And the trees, still green,
perhaps heard for the first time
in their Roma life,
that the abandoned and helpless of the world,
were arranging a sonorous and full end
to the system of hunger and hate,
and they demanded, guerrillas that they were,
their freedom with weapons in hand.

Spartacus, they say, turned his face
toward the remotest, most distant place
and no one ever knew
what event occurred in his heart
that evening when he spoke
with the poet Antonino.

But when Spartacus was crucified,
the most ancient
chronicles inform us,
next to thousands of his
people,
who were crucifed
with him,
Antonino the poet
told him
that it had been a beautiful struggle
because one day all the slaves
in the world would be free.

Spartacus said nothing
that last evening of his life,
but the wind, they say,
took in its airy hands
the last gallant gesture
from his lips: HOPE

  • trans. by Wilfredo Q. Castaño