Can I Forgive Him

©Paul Simon and Derek Walcott, released on Songs from The Capeman, 1997

.

[Esmeralda:]

I am Esmeralda Agrón, Señora.

I know I've no right to speak.

My son is not the savage boy you see,

The cape, the sneer, the slicked-back hair

It hides the child I nursed and bathed, Señora.

Please don't turn your eyes from me

Your son, gone to God, and mine to blame

My fated son,

He too is gone

The state will see to that, I am sure, Señora

The state will see to that, I am sure.

.

[1st Mother:]

You Spanish people, you come to this country

Nothing here changes your lives

Ungrateful immigrants asking for pity

When all of your answers are knives

This city makes a cartoon of a crime

Capes and umbrellas the glorification of slime

I have to face this horror, Señora.

.

[2nd Mother:]

My religion

Asks me to pray for the murderer's soul

But I think you'd have to be

Jesus on the cross

To open your heart after such a loss

Can I forgive him?

Can I forgive him?

No, I cannot

Can I forgive him

No, I cannot

.

Friends become strangers

Compassion is hard to express in words

The trembling flowers they bring

Fear in the roots and the stem

What happened to me they know could happen to them.

Can I forgive him

No, I cannot

Can I forgive him

No

.

[Esmeralda:]

Only God can say 'Forgive'

His son too received a knife

But we go on, we have to live

With this cross we call our life

.

[1st Mother:]

Feels like a bomb fell

And wave after wave come the aftershocks

.

[2nd Mother:]

You can't believe that it's true

There must be some mistake

You drift through this nightmare from which you can't wake

.

[Both Mothers:]

Can I forgive him?

Can I forgive him,

No, I cannot

.

Can I forgive him?

Can I forgive him, no, I cannot

.

Can I forgive him?

Can I forgive him, no, I cannot

.

Can I forgive him

No, I cannot.

.

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