Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Two Poems: Juan Gelman (RIP)

Juan Gelman, the politically committed and supremely inventive and talented Argentinian poet and winner of the Cervantes Prize, one of the highest for Spanish-language literature, passed away yesterday in Mexico City at the age of 83. Here are two poems by him, the first in translation, the second in Spanish and, according to the Spanish newspaper El país, the last poem he wrote. RIP.

Juan Gelman (from Coffee and
Saturday: Cultura y arte)

and with many birds and their songs in the /
highest part of the mind or head / and rumblings
in it like the sea / or laments /
or winds or movements / suns

that clash / go out / then burn again / or powers
like thousands of animals that track        
up the suburbs of the soul / suffering
terrible ordeals i mean / even so

the soul goes on whole in its quiet state /
or desire / or clear light untouched
by sorrow / scorn / misery /
suffering or ruin / so

what is this peace without vengeance / or memory
of a future heaven / or tenderness
coming down from your hands / spring water
where birds in the highest part of the mind

rally to drink / sing sweetly / or are silent
like light issuing from you / wing
flying softly above war and fatigue
like the flight of passion itself?

Copyright © "Saint Theresa" by Juan Gelman (2014), translated by Hardie St. Martin, from Exquisite Corpse, 2014. All rights reserved.


according to Coffee and Saturday: Cultura y arte, the last poem Gelman wrote, by hand:


Cada día
me acerco más a mi esqueleto.
Se está asomando con razón.
Lo metí en buenas y en feas sin preguntarle nada,
él siempre preguntándome, sin ver
cómo era la dicha o la desdicha,
sin quejarse, sin
distancias efímeras de mí.

Copyright © Juan Gelman, 2014. All rights reserved.

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