poetryPosted by Simon Wed, April 24, 2019 21:07:17
In a reading of Darío Jaramillo’s poetry at the Lorca Centre on Tuesday,
Rafael Espejo (local poet) chose poems completely at random, he said, and in accordance with
his own preferences and based on his familiarity with the Colombian’s body of
I noticed he chose six poems about cats and later I saw that Jaramillo -
like TS Elliot (Old Possum’s Book of
Practical Cats) - has published a book of cat poems. He (Espejo) started
with this one:
Los estados de la materia son cuatro:
líquido, sólido, gaseoso y gato.
El gato es un estado especial de la materia,
si bien caben las dudas:
¿es materia esta voluptuosa contorsión?
¿no viene del cielo esta manera de dormir?
Y este silencio, ¿acaso no procede de un lugar sin tiempo?
Cuando el espíritu juega a ser materia
entonces se convierte en gato.
Aletargados en perpetua siesta
después de inconfesables andanzas nocturas,
desentendidos o alertas,
los gatos están en casa para ser consentidos,
para dejarse amar indiferentes.
Dios hizo los gatos para que hombres y mujeres aprendan a estar solos.
From DARÍO JARAMILLO AGUDELO, Gatos
, Editorial Pre-Textos, Colección
"El pájaro solitario". Valencia, 2009
This is how I’ve translated it:
States of matter.
Matter can exist in four states:
liquid, solid, gas and cat.
The cat is a special state of matter,
even if there is some room for doubt:
is it matter, that voluptuous contortion?
is it not from heaven, that way of sleeping?
And that silence, does it not perhaps come from a place without time?
When the spiritual plays at being material,
that’s when it becomes cat.
Lethargic in their perpetual siesta
after clandestine night wanderings,
whether oblivious or alert,
cats are at home to be spoiled,
to let themselves be loved unconditionally.
God created cats so men and women would learn to live alone.
¡Uy, uy, uy,
uy, uy, mi gato, …
poetryPosted by Simon Sun, January 19, 2014 13:40:27
Gelman gave this previously unpublished and hand-written poem to Joaquín Sabina
when he was in Mexico last autumn. And I've tried to translate it.
acerco más a mi esqueleto.
está asomando con razón.
metí en buenas y en feas sin preguntarle nada,
siempre preguntándome, sin ver
era la dicha o la desdicha,
efímeras de mí.
que otea casi
pensará la clavícula rota,
arrastré sobre piedras
perdones falsos, etcétera.
estorbará tu vista ninguna veleidad.
el universo desnudo.
The truth is
me closer to my skeleton.
appearing is no surprise.
I took him
for what he was, asking nothing of him,
always asking me, with no consideration
fortune or misfortune,
complaining, with no
distances between us.
that the air around
watches from above,
will the broken collar bone think,
I scraped on stones
false forgive-me’s, etcetera.
will be nothing to spoil your view.
will face the universe naked.
28 October 2013
poetryPosted by Simon Mon, October 14, 2013 19:41:45
La regla es ésta:
dar lo absolutamente imprescindible,
obtener lo más,
nunca bajar la guardia,
meter el jab a tiempo,
y no pelear en corto,
no entregarse en ninguna circunstancia
ni cambiar golpes con la ceja herida;
jamás decir "te amo", en serio,
Es el mejor camino
para ser eternamente desgraciado
sin riesgos aparentes.
The rule is this:
give just what is absolutely necessary,
get the most in return,
never let your guard down,
get your jab in first,
don’t give in,
and don’t give yourself away under any
or continue exchanging blows with an injured brow;
never say “I love you” and mean it
to your opponent.
It is the best way
to be eternally wretched
with no apparent risks.
[I did the translation.]
poetryPosted by Simon Mon, February 18, 2013 00:10:14
We all have
a voice. To raise.
Will not be
says how it
as the lie
prescribe how we live and die;
a hierarchy of hate;
allows no choice
soldier or the mob:
kill one another, then die.
under the night’s comfortless veil
low-born scan the sky
tell-tale trail of fire.
where the unruly meet,
gestures of hope
As if I was
one of them,
in the same flare
mourn more dead,
I shed off
my uniform of indifference
with the millions
Auden: September 1, 1939.
poetryPosted by Simon Sun, December 19, 2010 01:53:07
A veces pienso desoladamente
Que es en la vida misma
Es en su limpia página
Donde se me derrama el borrón de la muerte
Pero miro allá abajo
Donde luce el frescor recién vertido
En el cuenco frugal de la mañana
A los perros nerviosamente alegres
Que en mi lugar y en nombre mío
Retozan entre sí
Tan exhibicionistamente vivos
Y sé que hay todavía cosas
Que hay que aprender a poner en su sitio.
- Dated 21 Sep 08
Lo único que siempre he sabido hacer bien
No es hacer
Es no mover un músculo
Dejar quieta la lengua
Cuidarme mucho de no ir a hacer ruido
De que no se me escape un gongorismo
Quedarme inmóvil para no estorbar
Y dejar que se vaya hinchando
Algo que sin remedio va a decirse
Y que revienta al fin trayendo entre nosotros
Con emoción pero sin susto
Y por supuesto silenciosamente
Una innegable detonación de luz.
- Dated 21 Sep 08
Lo que quisiera yo es subirme a las ramas
Y sin que lo notaran
Meterme entre las hojas más menudas
Para espiar lo que se están diciendo
Entre sí tan en secreto
Y llevármelo a casa en la memoria
Para decírmelo a mí mismo luego
Con picardía pero sin malicia.
- Dated 21 Sep 08
A lo lejos la noche masculla su tormenta
Esa pululación de tenues fogonazos
Y ese apagado desgranar de truenos
Visiblemente traman alcanzarnos
La tormenta galopa hacia nosotros
Con lentitud de sueño
Y tal vez se desmaye antes de haber llegado
Pero cómo negar si nos alcanza
Que mientras dura su impulsivo abrazo
Es también ella una gran casa
En la que caben nuestras casas.
- Dated Night of the 21-22 sep 08
poetryPosted by Simon Sun, December 19, 2010 01:25:38
At times I think desolately
That it is on life itself
On its clean page
that the blot of death is spilt
But I look down there
at the recently tipped freshness
resplendent in the frugal morning bowl
For the nervously cheerful dogs
Which in my stead and in my name
So exhibitionistically alive
And I know there are still things
That I have to learn how to put in their place.
The only thing that I've always known how to do well
Is not to do
Is not to move a muscle
Let the tongue be still
Take great care not to go and make a noise
From which a gongorismo might slip out
Remain motionless so as not to get in the way
And let something which is inevitably going to be said
Swell up growing richer and more impatient
And in the end burst bringing forth
Excitingly but not frighteningly
And of course silently
An undeniable explosion of light.
What I would like to do is climb up to the branches
And without anyone noticing
Get in among the smallest leaves
To eavesdrop on what they are saying
Among themselves so secretly
And take it home with me in my memory
To say it to myself then
With mischievous but not malicious intent.
In the distance the night mutters its storm
That proliferation of faint flashes
And that muffled threshing of thunder
Are visibly plotting to reach us
The storm gallops towards us
In dreamlike slow motion
And perhaps it loses heart before arriving
But who can deny that if it reaches us
That while its impulsive embrace lasts
It is itself a great house
With room for all our houses.
poetryPosted by Simon Sun, November 07, 2010 20:24:33
70 years after the event, and in time for his centenary on 30 October this year, the Spanish Government have ruled that socialist poet Miguel Hernandez’ death sentence, issued by a military court in the first year of Franco’s forty-year dictatorship, was unjust. Wow! What insight! And ‘only’ 30-odd years after establishing democracy in modern post-Franco Spain. The Government has duly offered an official apology to his family and its belated recognition of his innocence.
In January 1940 Hernandez was charged with being a traitor to the regime (Franco’s) and a poet of the people. Hernandez certainly was not innocent of either of these charges. Indeed, in his declaration to the court, he proudly admitted that he was an antifascist poet who wrote to serve the people of Spain, calling on them defiantly to resist Franco’s nationalist uprising.
Hernandez, born 1910, left school at 14 and worked as a shepherd before realising his vocation as a poet. It was his closeness to the beauty of the natural world that soon inspired him to start writing poetry. His instinctive solidarity with the oppressed was radicalised during the period of the Republic in the 1930s and on the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War he joined the Republican Army to fight against Franco’s rebellion on several Fronts, finding, nevertheless, some time to dedicate himself to cultural-political issues as a creative writer. ‘While other poets wrote without conviction and paraded their left politics through Madrid in their carefully-ironed boiler suits, Hernandez was the only one who fought and wrote on the battlefield.’ This was the harsh but fair judgement of Juan Ramón Jiménez, alter ego and father figure of the brilliant contemporary generation of Spanish poets.
At the time of his trial, unsuccessful attempts were made to get Hernandez to renounce his political ideas in exchange for his life and make a public confession that he had been led astray by ‘the enemies of Spain’. Then, prompted no doubt by the international repercussions that had followed the disappearing of the more widely acclaimed Republican poet Garcia Lorca some years before, Franco commuted Hernandez’ death sentence to 30 years in prison. The regime did not want another martyr. But the condemned poet held out for little more than two years of his prison spell before succumbing to the effects of an untreated lung infection in March 1942.