the rook, the crow, the magpie,
like humans, one step and the next,
in order to walk lost in thought each could
become a talker; head
weighted down, learning almost reflective,
touch of iridescent light, each walks
measuring, meditates, shakes its head,
a foot, three traces and one more,
the other foot, on the roof, in the
snow, mind and eye, there,
feathers of air on earth.

Translation of “[el grajo, el cuervo, la urraca],” by Olvido García Valdés, from Y todos estábamos vivos (Barcelona: Tusquets Editores, 2006. Copyright Olvido García Valdés. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright by Catherine Hammond. All rights reserved.

el grajo, el cuervo, la urraca
humanamente un paso y otro,
andar ensimismado que podría
llegar a ser conversador; el peso
del cerebro, aprendizaje casi reflexivo,
tornasolada luz tangente, camina
sopesando, medita, cabecea,
un pie, tres huellas y otra más,
otro pie, en el tejado, en la
nieve, cerebro y ojo, ahí,
plumas del aire en tierra.

Olvido García ValdésOlvido García Valdés

Olvido García Valdés (Asturias, España, 1950) resides in Toledo. Her poetry collections, except for her most recent Lo solo del animal, have been published together in one volume Esa polilla que delante de mí revolotea (Poesía reunida). She has translated Pier Paolo Pasolini’s La religión de mi tiempo y Larga carretera de arena and contributed to a comprehensive anthology of poetry in Spanish translation of Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva. She also authored the biographical study Teresa de Jesús and is co-editor of the magazines Los Infolios and El signo del gorrión. In 2007 she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Poesía (National Poetry Prize) for her collection Y todos estábamos vivos.

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Catherine HammondCatherine Hammond

Catherine Hammond has a BA in Spanish from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA from Arizona State University in creative writing. Poems translated from Olvido García Valdés’ collection And We Were All Alive / Y todos estábamos vivos appear as a chapbook, House Surrounded by Scaffold, from Mid-American Review. She also has translations in American Poetry Review, Field, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Drunken Boat, and many other national magazines. Hammond’s own poetry has been anthologized in Fever Dreams:  Contemporary Arizona Poetry from University of Arizona Press, in MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism, and in Yellow Silk from Warner Books.  She has three Pushcart nominations.