The Poet's Task, Translation Of Carlos Bousono's Poem: La Labor Del Poeta
To Vicente Aleixandre
(It might be worth bearing in mind, while reading this poem, that Vicente Aleixandre was severely handicapped by illness from an early age. T. Wignesan)
You, the poet of the solitary heart,
You divined from love why you’re a man.
You gathered the truth of the plain
and your ancient eyes perceived
in the depths of the horizon: silence
You could never tell yourself what miracle
burned in your eyes of this blind planet,
what side of light was there in your life
when tremblingly you watched
the fall of night in the empty extension.
Because I know very well what you conceal from us.
In your corner of the shade, there is a filament
of light, there’s a hot point of the interior flower fold
and you watch it openly while
the night sinks farther and deeper. Everything sleeps,
everything holds its silence in the night. Palpitates yet
the diminished light in the darkened corner,
your celestial innocence, your most pure
sense of reality.
The stars have all disappeared,
everything grows dark over the earth.
There’s no consolation that could make us feel at ease
in our hearts. All of a sudden, you stand up,
your coarse hands upraised to the heavens.
It has taken you all your life
accumulating your efforts to do this. They were
very heavy, your hands,
as if they were made of stone or very heavy metal.
You have raised your fists in pain
during the night. Slowly, they opened up
with the force of centuries, of roots
which push upwards. As if from under the earth, you unfurled
in within the denseness of the material
in darkness. And there, out there, beyond
the funereal space, between the thickness of the
you were able, at last, to open your bleeding fists
and exhale in the name of all human beings,
your brothers, that you loved
the light that you saw,
the slight light which accompanied you all your life.
Shining cold for everybody in the light,
for everything celestial or diminished: coldly shining!
I cannot say if it looks like some fresh spurt of water,
I know for sure it poured forth freshness,
I do not know if it was like a river or a drop
of a transparent river.
That’s some water which has flowed very slowly,
which has slided slowly for your life,
which has emanated from a trembling life,
finding its source from old roots, from routed
From a love rooted in buried rocks.
A love for the world, for a world
of anxious maturity, of short
hopes, of blind effects of exterminations;
a poor world of polished suffering,
of sorrowful horror, of prolonged sunsets…
© T. Wignesan – Paris,2013
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