XV

The time has come to say good-bye;
with farewells comes wind to the vineyard
like dark Valpolicella wine
in the hand of dark winter dyes:
parks, far stations pass by
winter platforms, by hills
that lose their color on being dyed
into crystals by thinking light;
so we head for the center, not to flight
or the abyss but the carnation of time,
of what spots us in the flaming mirror.
So clouds in their service pass by
like the Holy Procession of Phantoms
like the Pilgrimage of the Rose Bush;
not Monsalvat, not Camelot or Tripoli
but the holy Grail of our dreams.
And in all one’s life this handful,
this clump of carnations remains;
so many words only to say
this silver pilgrim cloak of love.
 
 
XVI
 
The evening hour glows
and waters on the walkway darken,
we are zigzagging on the road
like the plot unravels in Buñuel
when the wrong way contradicts
the sacred official quadrille:
so the always serpentine poem
is at the end pure magnetism
with clarity of an abandoned hotel
off season, with blind eyes
more lively its balcony fever
in the frontispiece of escritoires
that visit the fingers of the moon,
the keystrokes of lunar wind,
in Magritte’s night of accessories.
We liked it all, but in the end
we had it all; having lived
is the sweetest taste of the cherry
and seasoning of a broken night.
Bowing, the past’s watery mass
gazes at the shooting star of day,
a cannonade of weird obscurity,
the cannonade of dying love.
 
 
XVII
 
In a box of air comes a flaming curtain,
the look of Jean-Michel Frank’s art deco,
the headwaiter taster of light,
a flight of fallen dragonflies
in the slim drafts of daybreak,
in the garden hunting party
the magistrate on Ferrara’s hillock
is confounded by the evening hour,
Boldini’s sofa with nude woman
in black stockings, Casati design
and his hypnotic zoo of gold and glass.
We are yesterday’s gardeners
but also the Argonauts
who captured the golden fleece
in the cenacle of darkened divination,
like the theater in Lady from Shanghai.
Everything alive goes with me,
with you goes what you lived,
but a handful of rose eyelids
on a night of frozen numb light
is what is lived by two, rug
for a Scheherazade arcoirisada rose
in a Baghdad with laced shoes of fire
like the Paris night when Proust
in night alarm saw Grosse Bertha
turbaned in a swallow-tail mask.
On the night of pendants and festoons
we carry our offering—our whole being.
Twilight falls through the turbine
of mute oxen and teaches us
the insistence of living what day holds,
the abandonment of living love;
face to face we watch each other in filmed night,
Day for Night, the mirror’s impracticabilities,
because love is a mirroring,
is possession of body and its images,
image painters of possession,
possession of truth for both;
we are protagonists of resplendence.
 
From Rapsodia, published 2011 by Seix Barral. © Pere Gimferrer. By arrangement with Grupo Planeta. Translation © 2013 by Willis Barnstone. All rights reserved.

XV

El tiempo nuestro es ya de despedida:
con los adioses viene el viento al pámpano,
como en Valpolicella oscurecida
en la mano de tinte del invierno:
parques, lejanas estaciones pasan
por andenes de invierno, por los cerros
que pierden su color al ser tiznados
en los cristales por la luz que piensa:
así vamos al centro, no a la huida
o a lo abismal, sino al clavel del tiempo,
que nos ve en un espejo llameante,
en un planeta de agua incandescente.
Así las nubes en su oficio pasan,
como Santa Compaña o estantigua,
como la romería del rosal:
no Monsalvat, no Camelot ni Trípoli,
sino el santo Grial de nuestros sueños.
Y, de toda la vida, este puñado,
esta gavilla de claveles queda:
tanta palabra por decir tan solo
la esclavina de plata del amor.

 

XVI

Es charolada la hora nocturna
y son oscuras las aguas del paso.
Por el camino vamos en zigzag,
como en el desenlace de Buñuel,
cuando el rumbo aberrante contradice
la contradanza del oficio sacro:
así el poema, siempre en serpenteo,
pero al fin todo pura imantación:
con claridad de hotel abandonado
fuera de temporada, de ojos ciegos,
mas vivos en su fiebre de balcones,
en las escribanías de fachada
que visitan los dedos de la luna,
el teclear del aire selenita,
en la noche de atrezzo de Magritte.
Lo queríamos todo, pero, al cabo,
lo hemos tenido todo: haber vivido
es el sabor dulzón de la ciruela
y el condimento de la noche rota.
Agachadas, las gachas del pasado
miran pasar los bólidos del día:
un cañoneo en la tiniebla extraña,
el cañoneo del morir de amor.

 

XVII

En la caja del aire va el telón encendido,
la mirada art déco, Jean-Michel Frank;
viene el maestresala de la luz,
un vuelo de libélulas caídas
en los esbozos del amanecer:
por una cacería de jardines
el podestá en la loma de Ferrara
se desconcierta en la nocturnidad:
el sofá de Boldini, la Casati
y su hipnótico zoo de oro y rocalla:
somos los jardineros del ayer,
pero también somos los argonautas
(qui conquit la toison), en el cenáculo
de las agorerías vueltas sombra,
en las sombras chinescas del vivir,
como el teatro en Lady from Shangai.
Todo lo que vivía va conmigo,
contigo va lo que viviste tú,
pero un puño de párpados de rosa
en una noche de luz arrecida
es lo vivido por los dos, alfombra
para una Scherezade arcoirisada
en un Bagdad con borceguí de llamas
como la noche en París que vio Proust,
en alarmas nocturnas, Grosse Bertha,
turbantes en las máscaras de frac.
A cuestas en la noche de colgantes,
llevamos nuestra ofrenda: todo el ser.
Por la turbina de los bueyes mudos
el crepúsculo cae, y nos enseña,
en el desistimiento del vivir,
la insistencia en vivir que tiene el día,
lo indesistido del amor que vive:
cara a cara nos vemos en la noche filmada,
Day for Night, aporías del espejo,
porque el amor es un espejear,
la posesión del cuerpo en sus imágenes,
imagineros de la posesión,
la posesión de la verdad de ambos:
somos protagonistas del fulgor.




Pere GimferrerPere Gimferrer

Pere Gimferrer's literary work in Spanish includes the poetry collections Arde el mar (1966), which won the National Prize for Poetry, Amor en vilo (2006), Interludio azul (2006) and Tornado (2008). His Catalan work includes the novel Fortuny (1983), which won the Ramon Llull and Critica prizes, and El vendaval (1988), for which he won the National Poetry Prize for the second time. His life’s work has seen him awarded the National Prize for Spanish Literature (1998) and the International Octavio Paz Prize for Poetry and Criticism (2006).

Photo: Ricardo Martin

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Willis BarnstoneWillis Barnstone

Willis Barnstone, born in Lewiston, Maine, and educated at Bowdoin, the Sorbonne, SOAS, Columbia, and Yale, taught in Greece at the end of the civil war (1949–51) and in Buenos Aires during the Dirty War. During the Cultural Revolution he went to China, where he was later a Fulbright Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University (1984–85). Former O’Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University, he is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of comparative literature and Spanish at Indiana University. Author of some seventy books with university and trade presses, he is publishing ABC of Translation (Black Widow Press) in March 2013 and Borges at Eighty (New Directions) in May 2013. Carcanet in England will published his Selected Poems.