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Poetry From the July 2011 issue: The Arab Spring, Part I



Jews ask for signs, Greeks for wisdom,
but I say: Go crazy.
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe?
The light of the world has been palmed.
You’re blind?
Rejoice in your blindness.
You’re deaf?
Rejoice in your deafness.
The blind have been chosen to see it all,
and the deaf to hear what’s inaudible.
Yes, go crazy.
Because all the eyes have been veiled,
and we see only what we don’t see.        
Because all the ears have been sealed,
and we hear only what we don’t.
You want miracles?
Go crazy.
Go crazy.
Because it’s a matter of grasping the Ungraspable
and our hands break,
a matter of touching Truth
and reason burns.
Go crazy.

Translation of “Epístola.” Copyright the estate of Horacio Castillo. Translation copyright 2011 by Samuel Gray. All rights reserved

Los judíos piden señales, los griegos sabiduría,
pero yo digo: Enloqueced.
¿Dónde está el sabio, dónde está el escriba?
Ha sido escamoteada la luz del mundo.
¿Sois ciegos?
Alegraos de vuestra ceguera.
¿Sois sordos?
Alegraos de vuestra sordera.
El ciego ha sido escogido para verlo todo,
el sordo para oír lo inaudible.
Sí, enloqueced.
Porque todo los ojes han sido velados
y sólo vemos lo que no vemos,
todos los oídos han sido sellados
y sólo oímos lo que no oímos.
¿Queréis prodigios?
¿Queréis conocimiento?
Porque se trata de asir lo Inasible
y las manos se quiebran,
se trata de tocar la Verdad
y arde la razón.

Horacio CastilloHoracio Castillo

Horacio Castillo (Ensenada, Argentina, 1934–2010) published eight books of poetry, as well as numerous volumes of Greek and Portugese poetry in translation. His own work has been translated into French, English, Italian, Greek, and Portuguese, and his critical essays on Latin American and Greek poetry have appeared in six different book-length collections. Horacio Castillo’s work as a poet, translator, and critic has brought him dozens of awards and honorary distinctions, including the Argentine National Foundation for the Arts Literary Translation Award (1988), the Konex honorary diploma (1994), the Argentine Poetry Foundation Award (2002), and the Faro de Oro (2005).

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Samuel GraySamuel Gray

Samuel Gray is currently a graduate student at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where he teaches courses in creative writing and literature. His translations of Horacio Castillo's poetry have previously appeared in International Poetry Review.