dijous, 13 de setembre de 2007

The reddish shadow of a female wolf

Traducció amateur personal de l'Ombra rogenca de la lloba de Gerard Vergés, premi Carles Riba de 1981.

The reddish shadow of a female wolf

I’m the one named Romulus, a Roman
with tired, ironic, thoughtful gesture,
whose face is minted in coins.
Keen on Mahler, Mozart above all.
And the silence of the stars. I’m a thousand.

I’m not telling you the well-known story
nor describing the landscape where I lived:
that wide river, with flourished orange trees,
and, up beyond, the hard red land
olive groves and vineyards, the sky of summer
like a sharp blade of a sword.
And beside the sea, the one I love so much.

I know the land where I’ve lived. Look:
Baneful is water for ripen wheat,
baneful the gale for bushes,
baneful for me the infuriated Gods.
Sweet, instead, is arbutus for lambs,
sweet the slow rain for crops
and sweet for me your company is.

I met you still in your teens
with eyes like dark roses, like black
gardens in half-light (And I believed
black was the colour of beauty).

Nobody knows the old swell,
But the north wind hair mussed,
Hair like snakes. Serpents on the bosoms.
Hurt am I of splintered glasses
(glasses inside, but, love calls me).
Hurt am I of words and silences,
of torn clay, of chopped wood,
of powerful desolated forests.
The primitive gold was an injured flower
and those truly green forests
were cut down and are no more today.

(On getting new sorrows I agree to write verses.
I’d have so much loved you, so
slowly I’d have kissed your eyes and lips.
- My black eyes: not like a lightning.
- And my sweet lips: not like a sword).

Swords might come later.
Mugs of snow swept away the blooming,
Stones broke the mirrors of water,
Mist covered the face of the moon.

Everywhere pistols,
Everywhere scared tricorns
these and horses, at dawn,
along wet meadows and paths of darkness.
Green, red and white. Not British banners.

If horses move, clouds will as well.
And there is an ingenuous silence of poppies
- naive herbs – whereas in squares
young girls turn up, with bright eyes
and elastic jeans on a thin waistline.

Everything starts with a funny air,
Everything starts with an air of hope
As Green as the axes of woodcutters,
As Red as the soutanes of priests,
As White as the membranes of insects,
Though man is frailer than a rose.

However – keep it in mind –
my private life gets neither affected
by the ancestral copulation of turtles,
nor by gold stocks in Swiss banks.
I choose the menu; mushrooms and beef;
A Priorat wine and a tangerine juice.
What else does the Sir need?
- Stillness.
I’d like to die sweetly like the acacias
that never come up in April. I’d like …
(A kettle is boiling on a fire, so is hell)

The hell of Spanish whores
who still work in old Jewish quarters
in Istambul. Bacterium and treponemes.
(I never wrote these letters. And that sonnet
- green among greenness of boreal mints –
where mint rhymed with your lips.)

- I’ve dreamt of you tonight.
(I’ve loved you so much, darling, at all times.)
I can never lie on the same side.
(I wonder if you still believe in eternal rest.)
- I used to harmonise ideas and words.
(Good work is a pitcher which doesn’t leak)
- I’ve always been a man with principles.
(Some canons used to be bells.)

And, above all, grief,
and suspicious headlines of papers,
and cheeks of milk and strawberry,
and the arched snow of the necks of swans,
and the spiral of fire in metaphors,
and the blonde pubis of Venus Afrodita,
and my dead friends’ bones,
and twilights of ashes and darkness,
and Father God’s face, and prisons,
and herons and orange blossom,
and the clean shoes of a Sunday,
and weak submarine shells,
and the north wind cutting like a knife,
and clocks that stopped moving at half to ten,
and lists of synonyms and antonyms,
and plastered saints with eyes of china,
And the thread that leads us, good lads, to the bottom
of a bizarre labyrinth. I’m not Teseu.

Teseu, Teseu! Where did you lose the thread?
We weave with it delicate tapestry
And, with words, glittering poems;
But at the back there is a secret, a bunch:
Look at the hidden face of the moon
And the small print of contracts.

When Christmas come notaries send
cards full of purpurin and snow.
When Christmas come, wolves are fed by the wind.
We were hungry, and then, kind was a female wolf.
I reckon of the eight breast of hers,
I reckon of the nourishing breath of hers,
I reckon of the reddish shadow of hers.

For all this (and much more I keep inside)
I drop her off those herds of lambs
Which graze among vineyards beside the river.
I drop the bishopric of Hipona off my books,
(Without fighting I’d have never won)
And a woman in love my garden.
To the unstable Gods I drop thousand sextercis off
As an offer of snowy lilies and wax.
I drop worms off my heart, and also my wrath.
I drop the wind off my vanity
And the sea my bitterness. My friends
I drop them off for good my faithfulness.

Now I remember Flebas, the Phoenician,
Who died only a few days ago. Suddenly,
When the marine currents were drifting him away,
He forgot the cry of seagulls. So
Well built and young was Flebas, the Phoenician.

Why can lying voices be heard
And a sailor, beyond waves,
Is staring fertile islands, if all is a lie?
If others, luckier ones, have cut seas through
And founded kingdoms, built empires,
And seen the round breast of sirens,
They should record superb alexandrine verses
On marble or bronze or their memory.
Years went by, the millennial stones
Will have split. Tiny cypresses
Will be surrounding demolished walls;
The sea will be an oil stain
(where will the blown sails of vessels be?)
and the air will be yellow.
- Because of honey?
- Because of sulphur?
I swear it on behalf of the pallid moon.
- Don’t swear on its behalf as it’s changeable.
(The moon was shining) And the wolf man felt
his fright grow, the nails, the hair.
(The moon was shining) And a wise man reckoned
of an ancient proverb which claimed that humans
may only be a dream of shadows.
(The moon was shining) And wizards were seeking
heads of scorpions, flowers of aphrodisiac herbs,
the silver medulla of cinnabar.
The moon was like a white rose,
And lovers’ hugs used to be
Long and sweet and terrible. Moon.

Among all, the cherry skin
Like a red stream of clotted blood;
The one out of ripen grapes, as transparent
As the reflection of glass in cups;
The tender velvet skin of peach;
And the skin of pear, coloured
With old copper and autumn bronzes.
- Among all, your sweetest skin
For the nights of love, your skin
Warmer and more desirable than all
Fruits on earth is.
(We were happy)

My friends, you should learn all this happened
Decades, millenniums, ages, eras ago;
Nowadays the only truth
Is the absolute sinfulness of Gods.

And I hope never to return here.
I no longer wish anything, not even the waste,
Of unrepeatable time that disappears
Like water between hands. (I don’t care.)
I do care this moment next to you,
Not memory, fair paradise.


“I still remember that enjoyable time”:
Sol-fa and verses, music and worries.
“Time, without time, you spent like time”:
Never believe in complex sophisms.

Ah, brains are stuffing around me
With keen Aristotil’s syllogisms.
Let’s say, summing up, thought
Is only thought of thought,
Soul is the shape of shapes.
(And, in the golden silence, Kant’s bird
widened the sky flapping the wings)

Spring is tender like a lip.
Rainy and sunny. Midday of a summer.
Through the window gets in the scent
Of flourished lemon trees and fennel.
I’ll lean my head on your chest
And will let pure time go.
The rest is only smoke. (Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, which kills prophets)

Who says prophets, says presages. Cocks.
The obscene blood of cocks on altars.
Cocks with an implacable beak hoisting flags.
Dark-feathered cocks between corpses.
Frenetic cocks kidnapping the Sabines.

Cocks and illogic adjectives. And what a game
a little wickedness can create!
A poet in a plaster and a distinguished foot,
A God of plums and an Olympic basket,
A wise horse and a golden pastor
A soup of light and a beam of fish,
A tank of verses and an armoured volume,
A girl of glass and a virgin eye
A collector of flowers and a bunch of taxes,
A romantic hangman and a sinister sky,
A field of athletes and a team of wheat,
A comfortable monk and a poor bed,
A twelve-year love and an everlasting whisky.
We aren’t supposed to play with words.
Neither to believe in promises
Nor in the lies of evil Spaniards:
Our daily fight, oh Lord,
And, how dare we look at the fields
That sow our language with gargling and salt,
And our people are nipped in the bud?

Troubadours didn’t find easy
To sing the tangible limits of our land.
It may have been easy to talk about women,
About the wild aroma of their hair
And the humid meat of their lips.
They found easy to talk about water birds
Along banks of freshness, between tallest poplars.
They found easy to talk about powdered black eyes
And breast like cupules of snow.
Let’s leave the troubadours in courts of love
- Taste of verses and mead –
let’s leave sailors in open sea
- Taste of salt, of seaweeds on lips -.
Destiny is always desgavellant garbelles
And, when needed, every land takes its way.
Your hands are dirty. Hammers of rage
Crack noses, cripple penis and tits.
And the noble marble crashes.
Barbarians come back, so do medusas
From the jelly bottom of waves.
Pragmatic of fire. Sinaís of fury.
And thus, we are getting poorer.

Cathedrals had become
- that gothic flourished of splendid vine –
market stalls. Ramon Llull
danced Charleston with a black woman
of combative buttocks like piranhas;
Goethe read the sportive papers,
Neron grew roses in his garden;
And Voltaire hieroglyphs solved
On Afrodita’s naked back.
Rubens painted yellowy women,
With icteric dry yellow, like the skin
Of lizards, like withered bushes;
Saint Vincent Ferrer talked to the beocis
- chosen ignorant audience –
about a new flag with a blue line.

(Birds were fleeing. The Wind. The Wind.
Birds of fury came, dark falcons,
And a cold wind stripped the magnolias off.)
In the middle of the path of life
We need to stop some day and look back.
Because, passed the time, it’ll get an hour
That we’ll find bitter wine in glasses
And an inevitable taste of ash on lips.
We’ve buried parents and friends,
Every day we bury our wildest dreams.
And it seems human destiny
To bury what is most loved.
And we’ll die tomorrow ( who knows how?)
We might do in the worst way,
Without dignity, like farm animals,
(Be what it be, death always has
A sour smell of faded chrysanthemum)

Though we walk along shaded spots,
There are instead some blessed mortals.
Dant, for instance, got in heaven.
(We will never do). And he had
suffered from coldness and exile,
He saw God, he saw Beatrix.
You’ll say – I know – those were dark times,
in the year1300 people were different,
they quarrelled about crucial themes
- about love that moves the sun and the stars –
and about the insecure sex of the angels.

- (Angels were flying in high sky
of a firmament crowded by nightingales.
The sea was inhabited by dolphins
And unicorns ran along meadows.
- Ah, said to me a lazy one – imitate the Gods
And, don’t let your studies bother you,
Love Juliana and her sister,
The benign beauty of her tits,
Ecce florescunt lilia.
(And it was true.
A green tender grew between fallen leaves.
On the table, glasses, fruits, flowers.
Eyes and glowing cheeks are shining,
And from the golden twilight music is heard)
I threw the fortune cards
violently to the ground. Here we have
Secret XVIII, the Moon. I looked at it:
The Moon was crying tears of fire.
Two dogs were barking at it. A crab
Was swimming in musical blue water.
Towers are the door to hell.

And when’s the rainbow due to appear?
Solideus coloured of buguenvil·lea,
Nightshirts coloured of iris,
And blouses coloured of campanulaceae.

I’m exhausted, even my eyelashes are a burden.
And, above all, I’m weighed down by my sins.
Let’s say, my vertebrae are a burden,
Let’s say, the fright of the seagulls,
Boats that wreck in Straits,
Golden rain of pollen on the water,
Ivory worked by ancient hands,
Erudite quotations of Romans,
Honourable announcements of death,
Myths we believed in, lies,
Smooth comfortable snow of posters,
Sticks and ropes and canes,
Mineral hardness of oblivion…

Oblivion that ratifies doors and windows
On empty places, closed rooms.
All is silence: cloisters without crosses,
Docks without vessels. It won’t remain
A remote scent from us all.

And even so, me, Romulus, son of Mart,
I’ve still written these verses.
(Maybe
with little faith and trust)
But you should know that these things
Were first written in my heart.

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