Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Vendrá otro tiempo a acumular más tiempo

Madrugada, Swindon, 3 December 2019.

And there will come, just as this one came, another summer.
And another autumn will come just as this one's coming.
And there will come, also, a new winter.
And once more, finally, there will come another spring.

They'll come -- I know this -- they'll come again. And they'll go.
They'll go, yes -- and what else matters -- just as they came,
and there's nothing we can do to avoid it.

And it will go, like this, forming time,
the postponed trap that is woven in me by
so many empty hopes and by the effort
to quieten the clamour of my fears,
to bury in oblivion this destruction.

There will come other times piling more time
upon this time,  it'll be another time, sure,
but, what time.


Translation of a poem by Fernando Pizarro, in Cuando la noche (1999). Here's how the original begins:


Y vendrá, como éste vino, otro verano.
Y otro otoño vendrá como el que viene.
Y vendrá, también, un nuevo invierno.
Y otra vez, al fin, vendrá otra primavera.

Vendrán -- lo sé --, vendrán de nuevo. Y se irán.
Se irán, sí -- y qué más da --, como vinieron,
sin que nada podamos hacer por evitarlo. ...


An earlier post:


Madrugada, Swindon, 2 December 2019.

The final part of Pizarro's collection, subtitled Memoria del aire, quotes Luis Cernuda:

Si el ahogado sacude sus líbidos recuerdos halla un golpe de luz, la memoria del aire.

If the drowned man jolts his sexual memories (or remembered sex acts)
he finds a blow of light, the memory of the air.

It's a quotation from one of Cernuda's best-known and most turmoiled poems, but the texts I've seen have "lívidos" not "líbidos".

It's from Cernuda's collection Un río, un amor, written in 1929 but not published until 1936. This, the first of his "surrealist" collections, records a metaphysical crisis arising from a love affair that turned out badly, very different from the poet's boyish dreams. It was also the first time Cernuda was open about his homosexuality, though this only became a major theme in his next collection, Los placeres prohibidos (written 1931, published 1936).

Cuerpo en pena

Lentamente el ahogado recorre sus dominios
Donde el silencio quita su apariencia a la vida.
Transparentes llanuras inmóviles le ofrecen
Árboles sin colores y pájaros callados.

Las sombras indecisas alargándose tiemblan,
Mas el viento no mueve sus alas irisadas;
Si el ahogado sacude sus lívidos recuerdos,
Halla un golpe de luz, la memoria del aire.

Un vidrio denso tiembla delante de las cosas,
Un vidrio que despierta formas color de olvido;
Olvidos de tristeza, de un amor, de la vida,
Ahogados como un cuerpo sin luz, sin aire, muerto.

Delicados, con prisa, se insinúan apenas
Vagos revuelos grises, encendiendo en el agua
Reflejos de metal o aceros relucientes,
Y su rumbo acuchilla las simétricas olas.

Flores de luz tranquila despiertan a lo lejos,
Flores de luz quizá, o miradas tan bellas
Como pudo el ahogado soñarlas una noche,
Sin amor ni dolor, en su tumba infinita.

A su fulgor el agua seducida se aquieta,
Azulada sonrisa asomando en sus ondas.
Sonrisas, oh miradas alegres de los labios;
Miradas, oh sonrisas de la luz triunfante.

Desdobla sus espejos la prisión delicada;
Claridad sinuosa, errantes perspectivas.
Perspectivas que rompe con su dolor ya muerto
Ese pálido rostro que solemne aparece.

Su insomnio maquinal el ahogado pasea.
El silencio impasible sonríe en sus oídos.
Inestable vacío sin alba ni crepúsculo,
Monótona tristeza, emoción en ruinas.

En plena mar al fin, sin rumbo, a toda vela;
Hacia lo lejos, más, hacia la flor sin nombre.
Atravesar ligero como pájaro herido
Ese cristal confuso, esas luces extrañas.

Pálido entre las ondas cada vez más opacas
El ahogado ligero se pierde ciegamente
En el fondo nocturno como un astro apagado.
Hacia lo lejos, sí, hacia el aire sin nombre.

Translation by Google Translate, somewhat tamed by me.

Body in torment

Slowly the drowned man travels his domains
where the silence deprives appearance of life.
Transparent, still plains offer him
colourless trees and silenced birds.

The indecisive shadows tremble, lengthening,
but the wind doesn't move its iridescent wings;
If the drowned man disturbs his livid memories,
he encounters a punch of light, the memory of the air.

A dense glass trembles in front of everything,
glass that awakens forms colour of oblivion;
oblivions of sadness, of love, of life,
drowned like a body without light, without air, dead.

Delicately, swiftly, they scarcely hint
lazy grey turbidities, lighting in the water
gleaming metal reflections or swords,
whose course slashes the symmetrical waves.

Flowers of tranquil light emerge in the distance,
flowers of light maybe, or glances as beautiful
as the drowned man could dream them one night,
without love or pain, within his infinite tomb.

In its brightness the seduced water quietens,
a bluish smile appearing in its waves.
Smiles, oh happy glances from the lips;
glances, oh smiles of the triumphant light.

The delicate prison unfolds its mirrors;
sinuous clarity, errant perspectives.
Perspectives that break with their pain already dead
that pale face that solemnly appears.

His mechanical insomnia propels the drowned man.
The impassive silence smiles in his ears.
Unstable void without dawn or twilight,
monotonous sadness, emotion in ruins.

In open sea at last, without direction, full sail;
into the distance, more, towards the flower without name.
To cross, as light as an injured bird,
that confusing crystal, those strange lights.

Pale between the waves ever more opaque,
the light drowning man is lost blindly
in the night background like an extinguished star.
Into the distance, yes, towards the air without a name.

Derek Harris's Luis Cernuda: A Study of the Poetry (1973) is helpful: I could read the chapters about the "surrealist" period on Google Books.

07:05, Swindon, 4 December 2019

07:10, Swindon, 4 December 2019

07:17, Swindon, 4 December 2019

07:24, Swindon, 4 December 2019

Also in this section, Fernando Pizarro has a poem headed A los sobrevivientes de la batalla de BALANE (To the survivors of the Battle of BALANE).

Here's the gist of it:

The terrible thing was surviving.
(Those who died
didn't have to endure, defenceless, routed,
the ignominious conditions of the treaty
that put an end to such a cruel battle.
The others,
those that survived,
saw only their lives cut by the thread
of that accursed name, unpronounceable,
and had to suffer the wound
of an incessant and relentless memory
that dropped, tenaciously, on the ruins
of their families, their homes, their possessions,
and made them, forever, two halves:
life -- already another life -- and defeat;
two lives that living are born
only in those whom death has refused.


Or, "who refused death".

Derrota means both "defeat, rout", and "route, course".



There was such a battle, though I wonder if it's what Pizarro had in mind. It took place in 1582 in Sri Lanka.

"Meanwhile, Raja Sinha had turned his attention to the Uda Rata [central hill country], and in 1582 thirty thousand veterans of the Portuguese wars appeared before Balane ["Balana" in some texts], the mountain stronghold which commands the gate of the central plateau. Karalliyadda's army, which was supported by a few Portuguese, was driven back after a sanguinary struggle, and the capital [Kandy] was occupied, Wirasundara Mudiyanse being placed in charge of it."

(Ceylon and the Portuguese, 1505-1658, by P. E. Pieris (1920).)

(Wikipedia gives the date as 1583.) This was during the expansion of the Sithawaka state, which ceased in 1587 with the failed siege of Colombo. However other monarchs of Kandy continued to repel Portuguese colonization, eventually successfully, though only by dividing the island with the Dutch. Sinhalese monarchy, which had survived over 2000 years, finally ended in 1817 when the British assumed complete control. A succession crisis, internal dissension, some parties bargaining with foreign powers, other parties carrying out atrocities against the foreign powers, and, eventually, being crushed by colonial military might... That's how the story ends.

Madrugada, Swindon, 5 December 2019.

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