Os dentes de Cristo ascenderam com ele aos céus:
Através de uma cavidade num dos seus molares
O vento assobiou: está para sempre amarrado
A um céu glacial pelos caninos revelados.
A luz daquele sorriso encandeia-me
Tal como a memória dos dentes falsos de meu pai
Transbordando no copo: revestidos de bolhas
E, fora do corpo, com um sorriso mortal.
Quando massacraram os dez tecedores de linho,
Ao lado deles caíram no chão óculos,
Carteiras, trocos, e um conjunto de dentaduras:
Sangue, bocados de comida, o pão, o vinho.
Antes de enterrar meu pai mais uma vez
Devo polir os óculos, equilibrá-los
No seu nariz, encher-lhe os bolsos com dinheiro
E na sua boca morta enfiar o conjunto de dentes.
Versão de HMBF
In another dual elegy, “The Linen Workers” (one of a set of three entitled “Wreaths”), Longley considers the sets of dentures left lying in the road after tem men were massacred by Catholic operatives, comparing them to his “father’s false teeth / Brimming in their tumbler”. He saves the poem from sentiment by introducing a third set o teeth:
Christ’s teeth ascended with him into heaven:
Through a cavity in one of his molars
The wind whistles: he is fastened for ever
By his exposed canines to a wintry sky.
Longley here is grotesquely reflecting on orthodox Christian belief – the ascension of Christ’s whole body into heaven – in such a way as to satirize those beliefs and their power to wreak violence. If teeth go with Christ into heaven, then Christ goes with teeth of the slaughtered into the dust: beside the dead workers are found “Wallets, small change, and a set of dentures: / Blood, food particles, the bread, the wine”. Before the poem is over, though, the poet must again bury his father, giving him (back) his spectacles, small change and dentures. Longley’s chance, it seems to me, for a fresh perspective is partially lost in his return to the domestic, to the sentimental.
Jonathan Hufstader, in «Tongue of Water, Teeth of Stones: Northern Irish Poetry and Social Violence»