Dos Meditaciones

19 07 2011

I.

Considera, alma mía, esta textura
Áspera al tacto, a la que llaman vida.
Repara en tantos hilos tan sabiamente unidos
Y en el color, sombrío pero noble,
Firme, y donde ha esparcido su resplandor el rojo.
Piensa en la tejedora; en su paciencia
Para recomenzar
Una tarea siempre inacabada.

Y odia después, si puedes.

II

Hombrecito, ¿qué quieres hacer con tu cabeza?
¿Atar al mundo, al loco, loco y furioso mundo?
¿Castrar al potro Dios?
Pero Dios rompe el freno y continua engendrando
Magníficas criaturas,
Seres salvajes cuyos alaridos
Rompen esta campana de cristal.

-Rosario Castellanos

I.

Consider, my soul, that texture,
Harsh to the touch, that they call life.
She mends so many threads so wisely bound,
And in color, dark but noble,
Firm, and where red has dispersed its splendor.
Think of the weaver; in her patience
To restart
A task never finished.

And afterwards try to hate, if you can.

II.

Little man, what is it you want to do with that head of yours?
Tie up this crazy, oh so crazy, and furious world?
Castrate that colt who is God?
But God breaks the bridle and keeps on begetting
Magnificent creatures,
Wild beings whose howls
Break this glass bell.





They say that Paradise will be perfect

12 07 2011

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

You don’t have “bad” days and “good” days.
You don’t sometimes feel brilliant and sometimes dumb.
There’s no studying, no scholarly thinking
having to do with love,
but there is a great deal of puffing, and secret touching,
and nights you can’t remember at all.

When I die, lay out the corpse.
You may want to kiss my lips,
just beginning to decay.
Don’t be frightened
if I open my eyes.

They say that Paradise will be perfect
with lots of clear white wine
and all the beautiful women.
We hold on to times like this then,
since this is how it’s going to be.

We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That’s fine with us. Every morning
we glow and in the evening we glow again.
They say there’s no future for us.
They’re right.
Which is fine with us.

-Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks





Jaime Sabines – Los amorosos

19 04 2011

The Lovers

The lovers say nothing.
Love is the finest of the silences,
the one that trembles most and is hardest to bear.
The lovers are looking for something.
The lovers are the ones who abandon,
the ones who change, who forget.
Their hearts tell them that they will never find.
They don’t find, they’re looking.
The lovers wander around like crazy people
because they’re alone, alone, surrendering,
giving themselves to each moment,
crying because they don’t save love.
They worry about love.
The lovers live for the day, it’s the best they can do,
it’s all they know. They’re going away all the time,
all the time, going somewhere else. They hope,
not for anything in particular, they just hope.
They know that whatever it is they will not find it.
Love is the perpetual deferment, always the next step,
the other, the other. The lovers are the insatiable ones,
the ones who must always, fortunately, be alone.
The lovers are the serpent in the story.
They have snakes instead of arms.
The veins in their necks swell like snakes too,
suffocating them.
The lovers can’t sleep because if they do the worms eat them.
They open their eyes in the dark and terror falls into them.
They find scorpions under the sheet
and their bed floats as though on a lake.
The lovers are crazy, only crazy with no God and no devil.
The lovers come out of their caves trembling,
starving, chasing phantoms.
They laugh at those who know all about it,
who love forever, truly, at those who believe
in love as an inexhaustible lamp.
The lovers play at picking up water, tattooing smoke,
at staying where they are.
They play the long sad game of love.
None of them will give up.
The lovers are ashamed to reach any agreement.
Empty, but empty from one rib to another,
death ferments them behind the eyes, and on they go,
they weep toward morning in the trains,
and the roosters wake into sorrow.
Sometimes a scent of newborn earth reaches them,
of women sleeping with a hand on their sex, contented,
of gentle streams, and kitchens.
The lovers start singing between their
lips a song that is not learned.
And they go on crying, crying for beautiful life.

 (translation found on this site)





Sor Juana otra vez

16 09 2008

QUÉJASE DE LA SUERTE: INSINÚA SU AVERSIÓN A LOS VICIOS, Y JUSTIFICA SU DIVERTIMIENTO A LAS MUSAS

¿En perseguirme, mundo, qué interesas?
¿En qué te ofendo, cuando sólo intento
poner bellezas en mi entendimiento
y no mi entendimiento en las bellezas?

Yo no estimo tesoros ni riquezas,
y así, siempre me causa más contento
poner riquezas en mi entendimiento
que no mi entendimiento en las riquezas.

Y no estimo hermosura que vencida
es despojo civil de las edades
ni riqueza me agrada fementida,

teniendo por mejor en mis verdades
consumir vanidades de la vida
que consumir la vida en vanidades.

She complains of her fate: she insinuates her aversion to vices, and she justifies her play to the Muses

 

What interest is it to you, world, to pursue me?

How do I offend you, when all I do

Is put beauty in my mind

And not put my mind on beauty?

 

I esteem neither treasures nor riches,

And thus it causes me more joy

To put riches in my mind

Than to put my mind on riches.

 

I do not esteem loveliness that when conquered

Is the civil plundering of the ages,

Neither does deceptive wealth please me,

 

Considering it better in my truths

To end the vanities of life

Than to end my life in vanities.





A drop

2 09 2008

Ghazal 9

Even in prayer we are so by ourselves if the gates themselves closed
we would only return in silence to the flames

You who are beloved have no one to compare to
even your likeness reflecting in glass could never face you

A complaint caught in the throat marks the heart
the joy of the drop is caught by the dust

If your story doesn’t break each eyelash with blood
the story is not one of love but of romance

A man who can’t name the ocean by its drop
has an eye that is blind a heart that is shut.

-Ghalib, as translated by Jim Yagmin





Mary – Sea – Flame

15 07 2008

Soneto del Dulce Nombre de María

Si el mar que por el mundo se derrama
tuviera tanto amor como agua fría,
se llamaría, por amor, María
y no tan sólo mar, como se llama.

Si la llama que el viento desparrama,
por amor se quemara noche y dia,
esta llama de amor se llamaría
María, simplemente en vez de llama.

Pero ni el mar de amor inundaría
con sus aguas eternas otra cosa
que los ojos del ser que sufre y ama,

ni la llama de amor abrasaría,
con su energía misericordiosa,
sino el alma que llora cuando llama
.

-Francisco Luis Bernárdez

(Sonnet of the Sweet Name of Mary

If the sea that is spilled throughout the world
Had as much love in it as cold water
It would be named because of that love, “Mary”
And not only “sea” as it is now named.

If the flame that was tossed about by the wind
Burned day and night for love,
This flame of love would be called
“Mary”, instead of just being called flame.

But not even the sea of love would flood
With its eternal waters any other thing
Than the eyes of the being that suffers and loves.

Nor would the flame of love encompass
With its merciful energy
Anything else but the soul that cries when she calls.)





Mythical Founding of Buenos Aires by Jorge Luis Borges

24 06 2008

English Translation (by Alastair Reid):

And was it along this torpid muddy river
that the prows came to found my native city?
The little painted boats must have suffered the steep surf
among the root-clumps of the horse-brown current.

Pondering well, let us suppose that the river
was blue then like an extension of the sky,
with a small red star inset to mark the spot
where Juan Diaz fasted and the Indians dined.

But for sure a thousand men and other thousands
arrived across a sea that was five moons wide,
still infested with mermaids and sea serpents
and magnetic boulders that sent the compass wild.

On the coast they put up a few ramshackle huts
and slept uneasily. This, they claim, in the Riachuelo,
but that is a story dreamed up in Boca.
It was really a city block in my district – Palermo.

A whole square block, but set down in open country,
attended by dawns and rains and hard southeasters,
identical to that block which still stands in my neighbourhood:
Guatemala – Serrano – Paraguay – Gurruchaga.

A general store pink as the back of a playing card
shone bright; in the back there was poker talk.
The corner bar flowered into life as a local bully,
already cock of his walk, resentful, tough.

The first barrel organ teetered over the horizon
with its clumsy progress, its habaneras, its wop.
The cart-shed wall was unanimous for Yrigoyen.
Some piano was banging out tangos by Saborido.

A cigar store perfumed the desert like a rose.
The afternoon had established its yesterdays,
and men took on together an illusory past.
Only one thing was missing – the street had no other side.

Hard to believe Buenos Aires had any beginning.
I feel it to be as eternal as air and water.

translation found on this page





For the Virgin

18 06 2008

 

The Mother of God
 
The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart’s blood stop
Or strikes a Sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?

-W.B. Yeats





Rest

10 06 2008

Rest! For once to be a guest.
No longer to feed on meagre fare.
No longer to snatch greedily.
For once let everything come and know:
All that happens is good.
Even courage at times must relax
And lose itself in
The folds of silken cloth.
Not always to be a soilder.
For once to unbind the hair and wear
The wide open collar,
To relax the finger tips
In cushions of silk-
And to have bathed.
And to learn again
The meaning of women,
the blue and white of their robes;
what hands they have,
how they sing their laughter
As fair hair pages carry them
Beautiful baskets laden
With luscious fruit.

-Rainer Maria Rilke





La Muerte

7 05 2008

VISITACIÓN

—Soy la Muerte— me dijo. No sabía
que tan estrechamente me cercara,
al punto de volcarme por la cara
su turbadora vaharada fría.

Ya no intento eludir su compañía:
mis pasos sigue, transparente y clara
y desde entonces no me desampara
ni me deja de noche ni de día.

—¡Y pensar —confesé—, que de mil modos
quise disimularte con apodos,
entre miedos y errores confundida!

«Más tienes de caricia que de pena».
Eras alivio y te llamé cadena.
Eras la muerte y te llamé la vida.

Alfonso Reyes

******************************************

“I am death,” she said. I did not behold

How closely she crept towards my guarded gate,

At the point of carrying to me my fate

With her breath so harsh and terribly cold.

 

I no longer labor to leave her side.

My steps she follows, transparent and clear,

And from then on I was without sorrow or fear;

She leaves me not by day nor at eventide.

 

“And to think,” I confessed, “that in a thousand ways,

I with false names tried to keep you at bay,

Confounded between fear and useless strife.”

 

“You have more of caress than you do of pain,

You were freedom and I called you ‘chain’,

You were death, and I called you life.”

-translated by Arturo Vasquez