there are the stars
and the sickle stare
of the moon
there are the frogs
dancing in the joy
of the ditch and the crickets
there are the trees
and the huge shadow
of the wind whispering
the old hymns of my childhood
and of course, there are the stars again.
winking at me like a curious woman.
i am learning to breathe.
From A Jury of Trees (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe and Letras Latinas, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Andrés Montoya. Used with the permission of Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe.
Not to search for meaning, but to reedify a gesture, an intent. As a translator, one grows attached to originals. Seldom are choices so purposeful. At midday, the translator meets with the poet at a café at the intersection where for decades whores and cross-dressers have lined up at night for passers-by to peruse. Not a monologue, but an implied conversation. The translator's response is delayed. The translator asks, the poet answers unrestrictedly. Someone watches the hand movements that punctuate the flow of an incomprehensible dialogue. They're speaking about the poet's disillusionment with Freud. One after another, vivid descriptions of the poet's dreams begin to pour out of his mouth. There's no signal of irony in his voice. Nor a hint of astonishment, nor a suggestion of hidden meanings, rather a belief in the detritus theory. "Se me aparece un gato fosforescente. Lo sostengo en mis brazos sabiendo que no volveré a ser el mismo." "Estoy en una fiesta. De pronto veo que el diablo está sentado frente a mí. Viste de negro, lleva una barba puntiaguda y un tridente en la mano izquierda. Es tan amable que nadie se da cuenta de que no es un invitado como los otros." "Anuncian en el radio que Octavio Paz leerá su poema más reciente: 'Vaca . . . vaca . . . vaca . . . vaca . . . vaca . . . vaca . . . vaca . . .'" "Entro a un laboratorio y percibo aromas inusitados. Aún los recuerdo." The translator knows that nothing the poet has ever said or written reveals as much about him as the expression on his face when he was asked to pose for a picture. He greets posterity with a devilish grin. To the translator's delight, he's forced to repeat the gesture at least three or four times. The camera has no film.
Reprinted from American Poet, Fall 2002. Copyright © 2002 by Mónica de la Torre. Reprinted by permission of the poet. All rights reserved.
You have to let things Occupy their own space. This room is small, But the green settee Likes to be here. The big marsh reeds, Crowding out the slough, Find the world good. You have to let things Be as they are. Who knows which of us Deserves the world more?
Copyright © 2012 by Robert Bly. Used with permission of the author.