The Death of Don Quixote

We present this work in honor of the 40th anniversary of the poet’s death.

John Glassco
Canadian
1909 – 1981

 

I

So this is what it is,
The world of things, arrested.
The music in my brain has stopped.
The armies are simply sheep, the giants windmills,
Dulcinea a cow-girl,
Mambrinus’ helmet a barber basin –
And the priest is delighted,
Fussing over me as I lie here
After my marvellous interminable journeys,
Shorn of my armour, extenuated,
Now in my five wits, restored,
Ready to make a good death.
– Rosinante and Dapple are dead too
Where are their bones?

Are we all as dead as my Amadis
Who slew so many giants, indomitable?
I who modelled my endeavour, who tried…

Yes, this is what it is to be alive,
To die, to cease
To force a folly of the world.

II

The trees beyond the window are blowing green
The long road white in the distance, the sunshine,
There are flowers at my window
What do I know?

Well, that nothing partakes of reality,
And I too am simply Alonso Quixano the Good,
The wise gentleman, the resorted,
Lying in my bed, tended
By my loving people, ready
To make a good death…

I appear to have killed myself
By believing in some other God:
Or perhaps it was the drubbings did forme,
The horseplay, the jokes
Wore out my silly casing of flesh.
In any event, as I lie here,
The withdrawal of the vision,
The removal of the madness,
The supplanting of a world of beauty
By God’s sticks and stones and smells
Are afflictions, I find, of something more absurd
Than any book of chivalry.

III

O my God
I have lost everyting
In the calm of my sanity
Like a tree which regards itself
In still water
Seeing only another tree,
Not as when the crazy winds of heaven blew
Turning in to a perpetual fountain
Of shaken leaves,
The image of an endless waltz of being
So close to my heart I was always asking
Why should we not dance so far ever, be always
Trees tossed against the sky?
Why are we men at all if not to defy
This painted quietude of God’s world?

Well, everything must have en end.
I have had my day
I have come home
I see things as they are.
My ingenious creator has abandoned me
With the insouciance of a nobleman
The flickeness of an author
The phgelm of an alguazil-

Only Sancho is faithful unto death
But in his eyes I discern the terrible dismay
For he sees that mine are at last a mirror of his own.

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