Monday, January 2, 2006

i've got to get used to writing 2006...

so i borrowed this book from the library called Twentieth Century Latin American Poetry (which i need to re-check out because i'm surely not done reading it) and there are SO many great poets i've never heard of or have heard of but never read. so, i have taken it upon myself to share these poems with you that i think are just crazy good. even if poetry isn't your 'thing' read them anyway - you just MAY get something from them. i've posted the english versions because i'm a very poor (slow) typist and typing both versions would take me a bazillion years.

To Carlos Drummond de Andrade

There is no umbrella
against the poem
rising from the regions where everything is a surprise,
like a flower from a garden.
There is no umbrella
against the love
that chews up and spits out – like a mouth:
that grinds like a disaster.
There is no umbrella
against the tedium,
the tedium of four walls, four
seasons, four points of the compass.
There is no umbrella
against the world
the newspapers ruin each day
with this kind of paper, this ink.
There is no umbrella
against time:
river flowing under the house, its current
carrying off the days, one’s hair

-João Cabral de Melo Neto


Love: if I die don’t take me to the cemetery.
Dig my grave just at ground level, near the laughing
Divine disturbance of a birdhouse.
Or by a fountain’s haunting talk.

Just at ground level, my love. And almost above earth
Where the sun can heat the bones, and my eyes,
Extended, as if into stalks, rise to see again
The savage lamp of the setting sun.

Just at ground level, my love. So the passage
Will be even shorter. I sense
Already my flesh fighting, trying to return
To feel the atoms of a freshening wind.

I know my hands
May never stay still down there.
That like moles they will scrape the earth
In the middle of dark, compacted shadows.

Cover me with seeds. I want them to root
In the yellow chalk of my diminishing bones.
Up the gray staircase of living roots
I will rise to watch you. I’ll be the purple lilies.

-Juana de Ibarbourou

To Poetry

The taste of October on your shoulders.
Your hands give off a scent of April.
Like a hundred mirrors, I reflect
your body.
Night-time in the flutes of my voice.

Your footsteps were paths
of music. It danced
tangled up in leaves: the helix
of hours.
Naked liberation.

The measure of your height,
of the wave that raised
your weight of time, untouched.
My arm
softly circled it.

Among the aftergrowths
and your summery gaze
I sharpened the sickle that conjoined
the day
with the heavenly harvest.

From the blue depths the willowy wheat
falls to the brilliance of the sickle.
From the black depths a grain of gold
a pitchfork
with a cosmic shiver.

To plant in the breezy countryside –
to grow swellingly, a delicate flower:
the earth sweated, and the path
toward the red
sunset yields to grey.

He lifted his narrow stroke,
his hand above the wheat-field.
All the grains identical: One!
The free voice begins to sing.

The taste of October on your shoulders.
Your hands give off a scent of April.
A mirror of a hundred mirrors,
my body
will sleep darkly in your voice.

-Carlos Pellicer

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