Homage to Francisca Aguirre – The Lullaby Poems (Translated from Spanish)

Francisca Aguirre, Premio Nacional de las Letras 2018 El jurado la ha elegido 
“por estar su poesía (la más machadiana de la generación del medio siglo)
entre la desolación y la clarividencia, la lucidez y el dolor"

Francisca Aguirre, National Literature Prize 2018
The jury chose it "because its poetry is (the most Machadian* of the generation 
of the half century) between desolation and clairvoyance, lucidity and pain"

* In the tradition of Antonio Machado

https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/11/13

Francisca Aguirre was born in 1930 in Alicante, Spain, and fled with her family to France 
at the end of the Spanish Civil War, where they lived in political exile.  When the Germans 
invaded Paris in 1942, her family was forced to return to Spain, where her father, painter 
Lorenzo Aguirre, was subsequently murdered by Francisco Franco's regime.  
Aguirre published Ítaca (1972), currently available in English (Ithaca [2004]), when she was 
42 years old. Her work has garnered much critical success, winning the Leopoldo Panero, 
Premio Ciudad de Irún, and Premio Galliana, among other literary prizes.  
Aguirre is married to the poet Félix Grande and is the mother of poet Guadalupe Grande.



From "NANAS PARA DORMIR DESPERDICIOS"

LULLABIES TO LULL THROWN AWAYS

by FRANCISCA AGUIRRE

Translated by Amparo Arrospíde & Robin Ouzman Hislop ***

NANA DE LAS SOBRAS                                                                             A Esperanza y Manuel Rico Vaya

canción la de las sobras, eso sí
                      que era una nana para dormir el hambre.
Vaya canción aquella
                      que cantaba mi abuela con aquella voz
que era la voz de la misericordia
disfrazada de voz angelical.
                             Porque la voz de mi abuela
nos cantaba la canción de las sobras.
                             Y nosotras, que no conocíamos el pan,
cantábamos con ella que
                             las sobras de pan eran sagradas,
las sobras de pan nunca se tiran.

Siempre recordaré su hermosa voz
cantando aquella nana mientras el hambre nos dormía.
                                         **
LULLABY FOR LEFTOVERS                                                          To  Esperanza and Manuel Rico

Well, a leftovers song,
                    that truly was a lullaby to lull hunger to sleep.
Wow, that song 
                    my grandmother sang with a voice
that was the voice of mercy
disguised as the voice of an angel.
                              Because my grandmother´s voice
sang for us the leftovers song.
                              And we, who did not know bread,
sang together with her that
                              bread leftovers were holy,
bread leftovers shall never be thrown away.

I will always remember her beautiful voice
singing that lullaby while hunger lulled us to sleep.

                                                                                                       **

NANA DE LAS HOJAS CAÍDAS                                                                       
                                                                                                                       A Marián Hierro
Casi todo lo que se pierde tiene música,
                                                             una música oculta, inolvidable.
Pero las hojas, esas criaturas parlanchinas
que son la voz de nuestros árboles,
                    tienen, como la luz, el agua y las libélulas
una nana secreta y soñadora.
                    Lo que se pierde, siempre nos deja
                       un rastro misterioso y cantarín.

Las hojas verdes o doradas
              cantan su desamparo mientras juegan al corro.
Cantan mientras los árboles las llaman
como llaman las madres a sus hijos
sabiendo que es inútil, que han crecido
                     y que se han ido a recorrer el mundo.

                                                                                                      ****

LULLABY FOR FALLEN LEAVES
                                                                                                                     To Marián Hierro

Almost everything which is lost has a music,
                                                                     a hidden, unforgettable music.
But leaves, those chattering creatures
who are the voices of our trees
                       have -- like light, water and dragonflies --
a secret dreamy lullaby.
                                   That which is lost to us, always leaves
                                           the mysterious trace of its song.
Green or golden leaves
                        sing of their neglect as they dance their ring a ring of roses.
They sing while trees call to them
as mothers do calling their children
knowing it is futile, as they have grown up
                                     and left to travel the world over.
                                                                                          
                                                                                                                               **

NANA DE LAS CARTAS VIEJAS

Tienen el olor desvalido del abandono
y el tono macilento del silencio.
Son desperdicios de la memoria, residuos de dolor, 
                                                   y hay que cantarles muy bajito
para que no despierten de su letargo.
En ocasiones las manos se tropiezan con ellas
                                                  y el pulso se acelera
porque notamos que las palabras	
                                                 como si fueran mariposas
quieren bailar delante de nosotros
y volver a contarnos el secreto
                                                 que duerme entre sus páginas.
Son las abandonadas,
                                 los residuos de un tiempo de desdicha,
relatan pormenores de un combate
                                 y al rozarlas oímos el tristísimo andar
de los presos en los penales.

                                                                                                         **

LULLABY FOR OLD LETTERS

They give off the helpless smell of neglectfulness
and the emaciated tone of silence.
They are memory´s cast offs, residues of pain
                                                   and should be sung to in a low croon
so as not to awaken them from their lethargy.
Sometimes your hands chance upon them
                                                   and your pulse races
because we realize that words
                                                   wish to dance before us
as if they were butterflies
and tell us again the secret
                                                  sleeping inside their pages.
They are the neglected,
                                                  the remnants of unhappy times,
recounting the details of a struggle
                                                  and as we brush them we hear the saddest steps
of prisoners in jails.

                                                                                                          **

NANA DEL HUMO

La nana del humo tiene muchos detractores,
casi nadie quiere cantarla.
                                            Muchos dicen que el humo los ahoga,
otros piensan que eso de dormir al humo
                                            no les da buena espina,
que tiene algo de gafe.
                                   El humo no resulta de fiar:
en cuanto asoma su perfil oscuro
todo son malas conjeturas:
                                             se nos está quemando el bosque,
aquella casa debe de estar ardiendo.
El humo es un extraño desperdicio,
                                             tiene muy mala prensa.
Es un abandonado,
                                   es un incomprendido;
casi nadie recuerda que el humo es un vocero,
un triste avisador de lo que se nos avecina.
Y por eso, cuando lo escucho vocear con impotencia
yo le canto la nana del silencio
                                   para que no se sienta solo.
                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                       **

LULLABY FOR SMOKE

The lullaby for smoke doesn´t get many supporters,
almost nobody wants to sing its song.
                                               Many say smoke stifles them,
others think to lull smoke to sleep
                                               makes them queasy, 
that it´s a bit of a jinx.
                                  Smoke is not trustworthy:
as soon as it rears its dark head
it conjures up conjectures
                                                        -- a forest fire,
a house burning down.
Smoke is a weird remain,
                                             it´s got bad reports.
It´s a reject,
                                  it´s a misunderstood thing;
almost nobody remembers smoke is a herald,
a sad forwarner of what looms over us.
That´s why, when I hear it calling out helplessly,
I sing to it the lullaby for silence
                                             so that it doesn´t feel so lonely.


                                                                                                     ***
Translators:

Amparo Arrospide (Argentina) is a Spanish poet and translator. She has published 
seven poetry collections, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos 
poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar, Presencia en el Misterio, En el Oido del Viento, 
Hormigas en Diáspora and Jaccuzzi, as well as poems, short stories and articles on 
literary and film criticism in anthologies and in both national and foreign magazines. 
She has received numerous awards. 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include 
All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist 
the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande 
and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. 
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest 
Collected Poems Volume at  Next-Arrivals 

The Definition Of Love | Poem| by Andrew Marvell

The Definition Of Love
by Andrew Marvell

My love is of a birth as rare

As ’tis for object strange and high:

It was begotten by Despair

Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone

Could show me so divine a thing,

Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown

But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive

Where my extended soul is fixed

But Fate does iron wedges drive,

And always crowds itself betwixt.

For Fate with jealous eye does see

Two perfect loves, nor lets them close:

Their union would her ruin be,

And her tyrranic power depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel

Us as the distant Poles have placed

(Though Love’s whole world on us doth wheel)

Not by themselves to be embraced,

Unless the giddy heaven fall,

And earth some new convulsion tear;

And, us to join, the world should all

Be cramped into a planisphere.

As lines (so loves) oblique may well

Themselves in every angle greet:

But ours so truly parallel,

Though infinite, can never meet.

Therefore the love which us doth bind,

But Fate so enviously debars,

Is the conjunction of the mind,

And opposition of the stars.

The Dole of the King’s Daughter | Poem| by Oscar Wilde

The Dole of the King’s Daughter
by Oscar Wilde

Seven stars in the still water,

And seven in the sky;

Seven sins on the King’s daughter,

Deep in her soul to lie.

Red roses at her feet,

(Roses are red in her red-gold hair)

And O where her bosom and girdle meet

Red roses are hidden there.

Fair is the knight who lieth slain

Amid the rush and reed,

See the lean fishes that are fain

Upon dead men to feed.

Sweet is the page that lieth there,

(Cloth of gold is goodly prey,)

See the black ravens in the air,

Black, O black as the night are they.

What do they there so stark and dead?

(There is blood upon her hand)

Why are the lilies flecked with red?

(There is blood on the river sand.)

There are two that ride from the south to the east,

And two from the north and west,

For the black raven a goodly feast,

For the King’s daughter to rest.

There is one man who loves her true,

(Red, O red, is the stain of gore!)

He hath duggen a grave by the darksome yew,

(One grave will do for four.)

No moon in the still heaven,

In the black water none,

The sins on her soul are seven,

The sin upon his is one.

Love’s Philosophy | Poem| by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Love’s Philosophy
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river

And the rivers with the ocean,

The winds of Heaven mix for ever

With a sweet emotion;

Nothing in the world is single,

All things by a law divine

In one spirit meet and mingle –

Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven

And the waves clasp one another;

No sister-flower would be forgiven

If it disdained its brother;

And the sunlight clasps the earth,

And the moonbeams kiss the sea –

What are all these kissings worth

If thou kiss not me?

Famous Among the Barn and Shed

Portrait-of-Jackson-unfinished
Portrait-of-Jackson-unfinished…Kyle Baker

Hello is anybody there are you listening at all what the hell’s wrong with you people, so the world is going crazy, it really is, it’s going crazy it can be and there’s nothing that you can do to stop it, I guess.

When I was born it wasn’t easier, even as the baby. The umbilical cord was still attached to me when I looked around I noticed that somebody was slapping me, and he turned out to be the doctor and he was holding me upside down. I was buck naked with everybody in that room looking at me, upside down and all.

It was certainly an ignominious beginning. It was November. They brought me home, put me in front of a coal stove, opened it up with the metal handle and threw some coal in it, smoke spit out and you could hear the coal in there cracking. That stuff was liable to crack and pop and knock a little piece of burning coal across the room. That stove would be red hot in the middle of the room, a wooden room, with newspapers glued to the wall. At about 2 AM, there would be no heat.

Well I guess since I’m talking to you, you might as well be listening, because everybody’s life is important, even mine, starting there in that little three room house with that fake brick asphalt siding . It was a little building my daddy got from Fort Campbell Kentucky. Three rooms, no water, no bathroom.

No bathroom was quite common back then. I can remember when going to school, there would be a role of outhouses all painted white and clean outside, go inside and there’d be the smell of lime. It wasn’t all that unsanitary at all, when it was done right. But the outhouse behind the little shack, or around most of the farmhouses, was a different story. You had to watch yourself in there. There is no telling what sort of critter could be in there with you, or looking up at you, so to speak. It was a cold run to the outhouse in the winter.

Well they brought me home that little three room house with the wooden porch and outhouse. I spent my young years playing in the dirt beneath the maple tree. Toys were scarce, you had to make your own. A horse was a tobacco stick with some twine. My leg I would sling high as I dismounted my horse and I would tie him to the post of the porch.

Those were my Dylan Thomas days as I was famous among the barn and shed.

 

David Michael Jackson

What Do Women Want? | Poem| by Kim Addonizio

What Do Women Want?
by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.

I want it flimsy and cheap,

I want it too tight, I want to wear it

until someone tears it off me.

I want it sleeveless and backless,

this dress, so no one has to guess

what’s underneath. I want to walk down

the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store

with all those keys glittering in the window,

past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old

donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers

slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,

hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.

I want to walk like I’m the only

woman on earth and I can have my pick.

I want that red dress bad.

I want it to confirm

your worst fears about me,

to show you how little I care about you

or anything except what

I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment

from its hanger like I’m choosing a body

to carry me into this world, through

the birth-cries and the love-cries too,

and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,

it’ll be the goddamned

dress they bury me in.

Love’s Trinity | Poem| by Alfred Austin

Love’s Trinity
by Alfred Austin

Soul, heart, and body, we thus singly name,

Are not in love divisible and distinct,

But each with each inseparably link’d.

One is not honour, and the other shame,

But burn as closely fused as fuel, heat, and flame.

They do not love who give the body and keep

The heart ungiven; nor they who yield the soul,

And guard the body. Love doth give the whole;

Its range being high as heaven, as ocean deep,

Wide as the realms of air or planet’s curving sweep.

The Owl and the Pussy Cat | Poem| by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy Cat
by Edward Lear

The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

“O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!

How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?”

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the Bong-tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.