Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Robert Frost / Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.  
His house is in the village though;  
He will not see me stopping here  
To watch his woods fill up with snow.  

My little horse must think it queer  
To stop without a farmhouse near  
Between the woods and frozen lake  
The darkest evening of the year.  

He gives his harness bells a shake  
To ask if there is some mistake.  
The only other sound’s the sweep  
Of easy wind and downy flake.  

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,  
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Raúl Gómez Jattin / Lola Jattin

By Raúl Gómez Jattin
Translated by Nicolás Suescún
Beyond the night that twinkles in childhood
Even beyond my first memory
is Lola – my mother – in front of a shop window
powdering her face and doing her hair
She is already thirty and beautiful and strong
and she is in love with Joaquín Pablo – my old man –
She doesn’t know that I hide in her belly ready
for the time when her strong life will need the strength of mine
Beyond these tears that run down my face
beyond her inmense pain which is like a stab
is Lola – the dead one – still vibrant and alive
sitting in the balcony looking at the bright stars
when the breeze from the ciénaga
untidies her hair and she combs it again
with something of concerted laziness and pleasure
Beyond this instant that has passed and will not come back
I am hiding in the flow of time that takes me
far away and that I now sense beforehand
Beyond these verses that secretly kill me
is old age – death – the endless time
when the two memories: my mother’s and mine
will become a single memory: these verses

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Raúl Gómez Jattin / On what I am

Karina Marandjian

By Raúl Gómez Jattin
Translated by Nicolás Suescún

In this body
in which life is already getting dark
I live
Soft belly and balding head
A few teeth
And I inside
like a condemned man
I am inside and I am in love
and I am old
I make out the meaning of my pain with poetry
and the result is especially painful
voices that announce: here comes your anguish
Broken voices: your days are over

Poetry is the only companion
get used to its knives
because it’s the only one

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Triunfo Arciniegas / Distance

Triunfo Arciniegas

Translated from Spanish by Steve Dolph


In a molding room
The old man
Lays out the deck
And through the smoke
Points to your figure
Next to a man
Who is not me

Steve Dolph edits Calque.
He is currently translating a short story collection by Arciniegas, The Unicorn Garden and Other Places for Lonely Men. http://calquezine.blogspot.com/2007/09/triunfo-arciniegas-distance.html

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bram Stoker / Welcome to the Carpathians

Bram Stoker

My Friend
Welcome to the Carpathians.
I am anxiously expecting you. Sleep well tonight.
At three tomorrow the diligence will start for Bukovina;
a place on it is kept for you. At the Borgo Pass
my carriage will await you and will bring you to me.
I trust that your journey from London has been a happy one,
and that you will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land.
Your friend,

Read also

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lauren Mendinuerta / The Ivory Tower

Paco Martos

Translated by Constance Lardas

The world is an ivory tower, in vain
I search for a door within its curved walls.
I look like an actress playing a drunkard,
I struggle to walk a straight line,
never S’s. I am not a professional
actor, I don’t even resemble one,
but I will struggle to walk a straight line.
Sometimes I sit at the computer and search
for all manner of things, from shoes to love.
And yes, I find it all there, because the world is a tower
and inevitably I am trapped with everything else.
When I look at myself in the mirror,
I am surprised by how common
my face seems, and I tell myself:
it’s good to look as common as this, don’t be afraid.
I sit down at the computer again and find
the same things, everything, everything, even love.
And right there, typing,
I try to understand
why I feel free within the bird’s cage.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lauren Mendinueta / Shadow Among Shadows

Photo by Yasha Simon
Translated by Constance Lardas

Just like a firebird
Your wings let fall
A deep shadow.
I saw you blacken
As if the night ashes
Covered you too thickly.
And your shadow a melody of blood
Soaked my bones.
And your eyes
Asphalt mirrors
Carved statues of water.
And your hands
Columns of seaweed
Shook the seas.
A frightened ghost
Hiding myself.
I dreaded looking at your eyes
I knew they held oracles.
Four and one nights went by.
Your shadow turned white
Like your tongue.
I found out you would go away.
I tried to see your eyes
An endless sequence
Of unknown faces.
Then I understood
That one night falls
With the weight of all the centuries
And that all the centuries
Weigh upon man
Like a shadow weighs upon a body.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lauren Mendinueta / The Years Pass Thus

By Lauren Mendinueta

The years pass
and though life accuses me of immobility
I have also traveled.
Like a particle of dust
I have fluttered through the house
and taken root on the books.
Like an insect I have rested on the banks of ditches,
or I have simply been a woman
who has looked out to sea
from afternoon to afternoon
searching for boats, forgotten by the fog,
which return to memory,
without any hope
aside from death.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Antonio Gamoneda / I Know

By Antonio Gamoneda

I KNOW the butcher bird. He sings and they come flocking to his white claws. Later, he crucifies them on the hawthorns. He cracks and sings because of love and feeds on what he crucifies. He dreams of bloody petals. Who knows if it’s the bird who weeps.

In other times,

I saw the horse’s soul, its teeth against the dew. There is a horse inside my eyes and it’s the father of the ones who later learned to weep. Now

someone treads upon my dreams. I think of how the snakes passed sleekly over my heart

to listen to the blood. Where? In the blue fistula or in the blind arteries? There, iron whistles, or perhaps it burns; we’re nothing more than miserable hemoglobin. There, the bones weep, their music intervening in the bodies. Finally, purified by cold, we’re real in disappearance.

Shit and love under earthly light. I abandon my veins to the fecundity of the black seeds and my heart to the insects.

My heart, this humid cavern that, with neither end nor cause, impersonates the systole’s monotony.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Antonio Gamoneda / An Animal

By Antonio Gamoneda
Translated por Robin Myers

AN ANIMAL, concealed in twilight, keeps watch and takes pity on me. The rotted fruits hang low, the corporal chambers boil. It’s tiring to cross this sickness full of mirrors. Somebody whistles in my heart. I don’t know who it is, but I understand its interminable syllable.

There is blood in my thoughts, I write across black headstones. I myself am the unknown animal. I recognize myself: it licks the lids it loves, it carries the paternal substances upon its tongue. It’s me, there is no doubt: it sings without a voice and sits to ponder death, but it sees nothing more than lamps and flies and legends of the funeral ribbons. Sometimes it shouts in the immobile afternoons.

The invisible lies within the light, but is there anything that burns within the invisible? What’s impossible is our church. In any case, the animal refuses to exhaust itself in agony.

This is what remains awake in me when I’m asleep. It’s still unborn and yet, regardless, it must die.

If this is so, then which lost clarity do we come from? Who can remember nonexistence? It could be sweeter to return, but still

we enter, indecisively, a forest of thorns. There is nothing beyond the final prophecy. We’ve dreamed about a god that licked our hands: no one will see its sacred mask.
If this is so,

then madness is perfect.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pablo Neruda / Poetry

Geraud Vogt

By Pablo Neruda
And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pablo Neruda / A Dog Has Died

By Pablo Neruda
Translated from the Spanish by Alfred Yankauer

My dog has died.

I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I'll join him right there,
but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I'll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.
No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he'd keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea's movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean's spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.
There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don't now and never did lie to each other.

So now he's gone and I buried him,
and that's all there is to it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pablo Neruda / Your Feet

Emmanuelle Seigner

By Pablo Neruda
 When I cannot look at your face
I look at your feet.

Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.

I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.

Your waist and your breasts,
the doubled purple
of your nipples,
the sockets of your eyes
that have just flown away,
your wide fruit mouth,
your red tresses,
my little tower.

But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pablo Neruda / Ode To A Naked Beauty

Ode To A Naked Beauty
By Pablo Neruda

With chaste heart, and pure
I celebrate you, my beauty,
restraining my blood
so that the line
surges and follows
your contour,
and you bed yourself in my verse,
as in woodland, or wave-spume:
earth's perfume,
sea's music.

Nakedly beautiful,
whether it is your feet, arching
at a primal touch
of sound or breeze,
or your ears,
tiny spiral shells
from the splendour of America's oceans.
Your breasts also,
of equal fullness, overflowing
with the living light
and, yes,
your eyelids of silken corn
that disclose
or enclose
the deep twin landscapes of your eyes.

The line of your back
separating you
falls away into paler regions
then surges
to the smooth hemispheres
of an apple,
and goes splitting
your loveliness
into two pillars
of burnt gold, pure alabaster,
to be lost in the twin clusters of your feet,
from which, once more, lifts and takes fire
the double tree of your symmetry:
flower of fire, open circle of candles,
swollen fruit raised
over the meeting of earth and ocean.

Your body - from what substances
agate, quartz, ears of wheat,
did it flow, was it gathered,
rising like bread
in the warmth,
and signalling hills
valleys of a single petal, sweetnesses
of velvet depth,
until the pure, fine, form of woman
and rested there?

It is not so much light that falls
over the world
extended by your body
its suffocating snow,
as brightness, pouring itself out of you,
as if you were
burning inside.

Under your skin the moon is alive.