World Poetry Day

To celebrate this day two poems by Margarita Ballester (1941):

The vegetal dimension of time

Death comes to a stop over me;
it doesn’t scare me, but rather comes
under the heading of nuisance.
And life slips by, down the slope,
with its many surplus hours
while death grows in the trees
that are surviving in their place.
There echoes in my head, the vegetal
dimension of the time that I shall not live
and nor will they write for us:
the time of tortoises
and bibliophiles.

Post-scriptum

I shall hide my book,
and the bad luck of not having
more than life for writing.
Because I wanted it … All.

Translations: Julie Wark.

For more of her poems visit Lyrikline.

Poem of the Month: January

A poem by Marta Pessarrodona:

Anna Gorenko

Ever since, without your latent,
we have all been, more or less,
half nun and half harlot,
half cloistered, half streetwalker.

We haven’t had your sense of shame:
we lack the cleverness
of the secret surname,
the talent of a loud-sounding mask.

My poet didn’t value
white peacocks,
religious music,
or crumpled maps.

Like yours, however,
screaming children annoyed him,
and he didn’t crave after tea and jam
or hysterical ladies.

Our time, for sure,
has not been as pathetic as yours.
This is why, perhaps,
we must pay homage to you;

even more for your poems,
of such golden pins;
for your wisdom,
not even betrayals could conceal.

Also because they have sung more lines
to you than you ever wrote yourself;
so jealous, they wanted to immortalize you
with pencils, brushes and cameras;

and because you will always be
so far away and yet so close
to our victories,
to our downfalls.

Ever since, without your talent,
we have all felt like you,
half nun, half harlot,
so many days, on so many repeated occasions.

Translation by Sam D. Abrams.
For the original text in Catalan and more poems of Marta Pessarrodona, visit Lyrikline. In case you want to read about the Russian poet Anna Gorenko (pen name Anna Akhmatova), look here.

Poem of the month: September

A poem by Mireia Calafell:

Shedding

Slowly ─no other choice─, she takes off her clothes.
Shirt buttons are difficult for fingers
that tremble. And the trousers, the trousers
are a test of her balance, patience and dignity,
as if to say I cannot the way things are. How to put it, how things are.
When she is naked she gets dressed again, resuming the ritual.
And so until the end of the day, and the end of her days.

She cannot accept that only snakes, while shedding,
lose their scales and their wounds together.

The original text in Catalan was published in Tantes mudes (Perifèric edicions, 2014). Translation by Graciella Edo and Ester Pou.

For the Catalan text and more of her poems go to Lyrikline.

Poem of the Month: August

A poem by Dolors Miquel:

Paradise

If a man were to cross through Paradise in a dream, and they gave him a flower as a proof that he had been there, and if, upon awaking, he were to find that flower in his hand… what then? Coleridge

I crossed through Paradise in a dream
and they gave me a flower.
The flower was there when I woke up,
on the sheets. It was gorgeous.
I showed it to my mother
who lived shut up in the heart of an artichoke
weaving the silk from her eyes, working it
into marvellous shrouds of a thousand hues.
‘I’ve visited paradise, mother’, I told her.
And she took from her pocket
an identical dried flower.
Then I knew
a visit to paradise
was not enough.

The original text in Catalan was published in La flor invisible (Bromera Poesia, 2010). Translation by Peter Bush, Poetàrium (2010), IRLL.

For more of her poems, go to Lyrikline.

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