1971

Two men walked on the moon.
More afterwards. What can words say?,
What can the dreams and shapings of art do,
Before their real yet almost unreal fortune?
Heady with holy dread and adventure,
These sons of Whitman have stepped
On the moon's wasteland, the untouched
Orb that, since before Adam, treads and endures.
The love of Endymion in his mountain,
The hippogriff, the curious sphere
Of Wells, that is real in my memory,
Are confirmed. To all belongs the feat.
There is not one man on earth that
Today is not braver and happier. The
Immemorial day bursts with energy
By the sole virtue of the Odissey
Of these magical friends. The moon,
That earthly love seeks in the sky
With sadden face and unsatisfied desires,
Will be their monument, everlasting and one.

The remorse

I have committed the worst of sins
That man can commit. I have not been
Happy. May the glaciars of oblivion
drag me and lose me, merciless.

My parents engendered me for the hazardous
and beautiful game of life.
For the earth, the water, the air, the fire.

I let them down. I was not happy. Fulfilled
Was not their youthful bidding. My mind
I applied to the symmetric pursuits
Of art, that trinkets interweaves.

They bequeathed me bravery. I was not brave.
It never leaves me. It is always by my side
The shadow of having been a brooding man.

Edgar Allan Poe

Marble's fanfare, black anatomy
Violated by sepulchral worms,
Of the triumph of death the glacial
Symbols he gathered. He did not fear them.

He feared the other shadow, love's one,
The common fortunes of the people;
He was not blinded by resplendent metal
Nor funereal marble, but by the rose.

As from the other side of the mirror
He gave himself alone to his complex
Destiny of inventor of the nightmares.

Perhaps, from the other side of death,
Solitary and strong he continues raising
Splendid and abominable marvels.

Things

The fallen volume that the others
Hide in the depth of the shelf
And that days and nights cover
With slow silent dust. The anchor
Of Sidon that the seas of England
Press down in its blind and soft abyss.
The mirror that repeats nobody
When the house is left alone.
The fingernail filings that we leave
Behind throughout time and space.
The undecipherable dust that was Shakespeare.
The many aspects of the cloud.
The fleeting symmetric rose
That chance gave once to the hidden
Crystals of my childhood's kaleidoscope.
The oars of Argos, the first ship.
The sandy footprints that the dreamy
And fateful wave erases in the beach.
Turner's colors when lights are
Turned off in the straight gallery
And not a step echoes in the depth of the night.
The backside of the neat world map.
The tenuous spider web in the pyramid.
The blind stone and the curious hand.
The dream I had before dawn
And I forgot at sunrise.
The beginning and the end of
Finnsburh's epic, today a few
Iron verses, left behind by the centuries.
The mirrored letters in the blotting paper.
The turtle at the bottom of the cistern.
What cannot be. The other horn
Of the unicorn. The Being that is Three and is One.
The triangular disk. The unapprehensible
Instant in which the Eleatic arrow,
Motionless in mid air, strikes the target.
The flower amid Bécquer's pages.
The pendulum that time stopped.
The steel that Odin buried in the tree.
The text with the uncut pages.
The echo of the hooves in the charge
Of Junín, that in some endless manner
Has not ceased and is part of the tale.
The shadow of Sarmiento in the sidewalks.
The voice that the shepherd heard in the mountain.
The skeleton bleaching in the desert.
The bullet that killed Francisco Borges.
The other side of the tapestry. The things
That nobody sees, except for Berkeley's God.

Chess II

Flimsy king, oblique bishop, ruthless
Queen, candid castle and deceptive pawn
Over the black and white along the way
Seek out and wage their armed campaign.

They know not that the choice hand
Of the player governs their destiny,
They know not that an adamantine precision
Subjects their will and their journey.

The player too is prisoner
(The sentence is Omar's) in another board
Of black nights and white days.

God moves the player, and him, the piece,
What god behind God the plot starts
Of dust and time and dreams and agonies?

Mirrors

I who have felt the horror of the mirrors
Not only before the impenetrable glass
Where it ends and begins, uninhabitable,
an impossible space of reflections

But also before the specular water that mimics
The other blue in its bottomless sky
That sometimes scribbles the illusory flight
Of the inverted bird or that a ripple stirs

And before the silent surface
Of the subtle ebony whose smoothness
Repeats as in a dream the whiteness
Of a slight marble or a slight rose,

Today, after so many and perplexed
Years errant under the changing moon,
I ask myself what chance of fate
Made me to fear the mirrors.

Mirrors of metal, enshrouded
Mirror of mahogany that in the mist
Of its red sunset blends
This face that watches and is watched,

Infinite I see them, elemental,
Executors of an ancient compact,
To multiply the world like the generative
Act, sleepless and fateful.

They prolong this vain uncertain world
In its vertiginous cobweb;
Sometimes in the afternoons they are fogged
By the breath of a man, not dead.

We are stalked by glass. If among the four
Walls of the bedroom there is a mirror,
I am not alone. There is another. There is the reflection
That enacts at sunrise a silent play.

Everything happens yet nothing is remembered
In those crystalline cabinets
Where, like fantastic rabbis,
We read books from right to left.

Claudius, king an afternoon, dreamed king,
Did not feel it was a dream until that day
When an actor mimicked his treachery
With silent art, on a stage.

Strange that there are dreams, that there are mirrors,
That the ordinary and worn out repertoire
Of each day includes the deep illusory
World, woven by reflections.

God (I am given to think) puts his will
In all that unapprehensible architecture
That builds the light with the smoothness
Of crystal and the shadow with the dream.

God has created the nights infused
With dreams and the forms of the mirror
So that man feels he is reflection
And vanity. That is why they frighten us.

Jorge Luis Borges
(1899-1986)

(proofs of death are statistical
and everyone runs the risk
of becoming the first immortal)


Rime 39

Do not say that exhausted its treasure,
in need of topics, the lyre became silent:
there may not be poets; but always
there will be poetry.

As long as waves of light to the kiss
ignited beat;
as long as the sun the torn clouds
of fire and gold dresses;
as long as the air in its lap carries
fragrances and melodies;
there will be poetry!

As long as human science ignores
the origins of life,
and in the sea or the sky is an abyss
withstanding calculation;
as long as humanity, always advancing,
know not where it is going,
as long as mysteries remain,
there will be poetry!

As long as one feels the soul laughing,
without the lips laughter;
as long as one weeps, but tears come not
to cloud the pupil;
as long as the heart and the head
continue battling;
as long as hopes and memories exist,
there will be poetry!

As long as there are eyes reflecting
the eyes that look at them;
as long as sighing lips answer
other sighing lips;
as long as two souls in a kiss can
feel like one;
as long as there is a beautiful woman,
there will be poetry!

Rime 37

Know, if ever your red lips
a fiery invisible atmosphere burns,
that the soul that speaks with the eyes
can also kiss with the sight.

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
(1836-1870)
in "Rimes and Legends"

Act II, 19

The rich dreams in his wealth,
that more comforts offers him,
the poor dreams while enduring
his penury and his indigency;
dreams who strives and endeavors,
dreams who affronts and offends,
and throughout the world, in conclusion,
everyone dreams what they are,
but nobody understands.

I dream that I am here
loaded with these chains,
and I dreamt in other standing
more laudable I used to be.
What is life? A frenzy.
What is life? An illusion,
a shadow, a figment,
and the greatest good is small,
that all life is a dream,
and the dreams, dreams are.

Pedro Calderón de la Barca
(1600-1681)
in "Life is a Dream"

To a Nose

It was a man to a nose stuck,
a superlative nose it was,
a henchman and a scribe of a nose it was,
a very bearded marlin fish it was.

It was a badly faced sundial,
a pensive alembic it was,
a face up elephant it was,
Ovidius Nason it was, but with more nose.

It was the spur of a galley,
a pyramid of Egypt it was;
the twelve tribes of noses it was.

It was an infinite noseness,
a lot of nose, such a fierce nose,
that in Anas' face a crime it would be.

I looked at the walls of my motherland...

I looked at the walls of my motherland,
if once strong, already worn down,
of the race of age grown weary,
for whom expired now is their bravery.

To the fields I went, I saw the sun drink
the streams of the ice unbound,
and in the thicket the plaintive cattle,
that with shadows stole the day its light.

I entered my house; I saw that ravished,
of aged room it was despoils;
my staff, more bent and less strong.

Defeated by age I felt my back,
and could not find thing to rest my eyes
that was not a remainder of death.

Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas
(1580-1645)

Avanti!

If brought to your knees ten times, you rise
another ten, another hundred, another five hundred:
so violent your falls ought not to be
neither, by logic, so numerous.

With the genial hunger with which the plants
assimilate greedily the humus,
swallowing the resentment of the affronts
were thus shaped the blessed and the saints.

Donkey-like obsession, to be strong,
no more needs the newborn,
and in any poor devil I figure
that the hooks of luck are dented...

All the incurables have cure
five seconds before their death!

Piu avanti!

Do not give up, even defeated,
do not feel a slave, even enslaved;
trembling with fright, think yourself brave,
and assault fiercely, when badly hurt.

Have the tenacity of the rusted nail
that old and ruined, is nail again;
not the coward stupidity of the turkey
that shrinks its feathers at the first noise.

Do like God who never cries;
or like Lucifer, who never prays;
or like the oak grove, that in its greatness
needs water but does not plea...

May it bite and clamor vengeful,
rolling in the dust, your head!

La Yapa

As one star alone is not the heavens,
nor a jumping drop, Oceanus,
nor a rigid phalanx, the hand,
nor a stalk of straw, the holy soil:

your cage gymnastics are not the flight,
the sublime sovereign climb,
not ever will be human longing
your pitiful personal yearning.

What do the spheres know about eternity?
of the storms of the sea, the sea drops?
of fist punches, the broken fingers?
of flour and bread, the straws?...

Stop your steps Logic, refrain
from making the idiots pessimists!

Pedro Bonifacio Palacios
"Almafuerte"
(1854-1917)

Asturias

Asturias, if I could,
if I knew how to sing of you...
Asturias green with forests
and black with minerals.
I am a man of the South
dust, sun, fatigue and hunger,
hunger of bread and horizons...
Hunger!
Under the bone dry skin
solid rivers of blood
and the asphyxiated heart
lacking veins that bring relief.
The eyes blind, the eyes
blind from so much looking
without seeing, distant Asturias,
daughter of my own mother.

Two times, two, you
had chance to gamble
your life in a game,
and twice you risked it.
Who will bring down that tree
of Asturias, now without branches,
naked, dry, dug in
with its deep root
that runs throughout all Spain
contorting us with fury?
Look, workers of the world
its silhouette cut
against this stolid sky
vertical, unbreakable,
firm over firm rock,
live wound of its flesh.

Millions of fists roar
their rage through the air,
millions of hearts
beat against their prisons.

Make ready your final jump
pale cowardly death
make ready your final jump
that Asturias is waiting for you
alone in the middle of the Earth,
daughter of my own mother.

Pedro Garfias
(1937)

Don't ask of me

Some request that this human business
with names, surnames, and lamentations
not be discussed in the pages of my books,
not be given the writing of my verses.

They say here poetry died,
some say I should not do it:
truth be told I am sorry not to please them,
I salute them taking off my hat
leaving them traveling in Parnassus
like happy rats in the cheese.

I belong to another category
and I am only a man of flesh and bone,
so if they beat up my brother
with what I have in hand I will defend him
and each one of my lines carries
the danger of gunpowder and of iron,
which will fall over the inhumane,
over the cruel, over the arrogant.

But the punishment of my furious peace
threatens not the poor nor the good:
with my lantern I search for those fallen,
tending their wounds and closing them.
And these are the duties of the poet,
the pilot and the stone cobbler:
we must accomplish something in this land
because in this planet we were brought forth
and we should mend the things of men
because we are neither birds nor dogs.

And well, if when I attack what I hate
or when I sing to everyone I love,
poetry wants to abandon
the hopes of my manifesto,
I continue with the tables of my law
accumulating stars and armaments
and in the hard american duty
I care not about another rose.
I have a compact of love with beauty:
I have a compact of blood with my people.

Pablo Neruda
(1904-1973)

Cuando

Sometime I will wake up every day
With the body light as air and that scent
Happy from the tame sleep of the lilacs
Not fearing movement and pain

One day I will have nearly nothing
Of blood in the paper-like throat
And a sour fish swimming in my countenance
I will only want refuge in the skin

The days will be those vessels
Of light that once I could write
And the joy we have forgotten
Coming back to soar in my bones

I feed from a chimera
Where the eyes will see under the Sun
The arms of my father on the flags shine
And black ashes that depart...

Sometime I will be persuaded that fate
Rules me on par with passion
And not the terrible archangel of death
Watching over the field of time

If what is achieved and what is possible
Have always the face of horror
In this homeland of the inaccessible
At this time forgotten by God

I say my avid lovings
Are strong and live longer than me
They are giants subtle as flowers
Encouraging this unsettled heart

I feed from a chimera
Where the eyes will see under the Sun
The arms of my father on the flags shine
And black ashes that depart...

Jorge Fandermole

Her eyes closed...

Her eyes closed...
yet the world keeps turning,
her mouth that was mine
kisses me no more,

gone are the echos
of her melodious laughter
and cruel is this silence
that does me so much harm.

Mine was the devoted
sweetness of her hands
that gave to my sorrows
caresses of compassion,

and now that I conjure her up
sunken in my pain,
the tears thought of
refuse to emerge,
and I'm denied the comfort
of being able to cry.

Why did life so cruelly burn her wings!
why this sinister grin of luck!
I wanted to shelter her but death was stronger,
how much my wound hurts and deepens!

I know that now strange faces will come
with their alms to soothe my torment.
Everything is a lie, a lie I lament.
Today my heart is alone!

Like hunting hounds
the treacherous sorrows
jealous of her love
gallop behind,

and hindden in the waters
of her gentle gaze
death hunkers down
counting time.

In vain I encouraged
feverishly some hope.
My flesh was torn by
pain with its claws;

and while in the streets
in frenzied rowdiness
the jamboree of the world
relished and laughed,
mocking destiny
robbed me of her love.

Why did life so cruelly burn her wings!
why this sinister grin of luck!
I wanted to shelter her but death was stronger,
how much my wound hurts and deepens!

I know that now strange faces will come
with their alms to soothe my torment.
Everything is a lie, a lie I lament.
Today my heart is alone!

Carlos Gardel/Alfredo Le Pera
(1935)

The South also exists

With its steeled ritual
its tall chimneys
its clandestine wise men
its siren song
its skies of neon
its Christmas sales
its cult of God the Father
and of the epaulets
with its keys to the kingdom
the North orders around.

But here down down
the available hunger
resorts to bitter fruit
of what others decide
while time passes
and pass the parades
and other things are done
that the north forbids not
with its hard hope
the South also exists.

With its preachers
its poisonous gases
its School of Chicago
its lords of the land
with its luxurious rags
and its meager physique
its spent defenses
its defense expenses
its heroic invasions
the North orders around.

But here down down
each one in its hideout
there are men and women
who know what to grasp
making the most of the sun
and also of the eclipses
setting aside the useless
and using what is useful
with its seasoned faith
the South also exists.

With its French horn
and its Swedish academy
its American sauce
and its English wrenches
with all its missiles
and its encyclopedias
its Star Wars program
and its wealthy viciousness
with all its accolades
the North orders around.

But here down down
close to the roots
where the memory
omits no memory
and exist those who die for
and exist those who live for
and that way together
make possible the impossible
that the whole world realize
the South also exists.

I love you

Your hands are my caress
my everyday chords
I love you because your hands
work for the justice

If I love is because you are
my love, accomplice and all
and in the street arm in arm
we are so much more than two

Your eyes are my charm
against the cursed day
I love you because your gaze
the future sees and seeds

Your mouth that's yours and mine
your mouth is never mistaken
I love you because your mouth
knows how to cry in defiance

If I love you is because you are
my love, accomplice and all
and in the street arm in arm
we are so much more than two

and for your sincere face
and your wandering steps
and your weeping for the world
because you're one of us I love you

and because love is no halo
nor a candid moral teaching
and because we are a couple
who knows they are not alone

I want you in my paradise
meaning that in my country
people would live happy lives
even without permission

If I love you is because you are
my love, accomplice and all
and in the street arm in arm
we are so much more than two

Mario Benedetti
(1920-2009)

The Real Philadelphia

How many kilometers yet
to reach that town
where warm bread is never missed,
where they will offer pure honey.

Where they will not beat you up
because of your religion or skin,
for being socialist or muslim,
whether you are called Gunnar or Rachel.

You see a field of sunflowers,
the threshing, dust and noise.
How many kilometers yet
to reach that town.

A clear day like an orchard
hearts will open up,
the poor will divide among them
the world, the wine, that bread.

Neither shelved fantasies,
nor fortresses of marzipan.
How many kilometers yet
to reach that town.

The gallows still has its rope,
and until you dream they will forbid.
How many kilometers yet
to reach that town.

Washington Benavides
(1930-2017)
music by Hector Numa Moraes

To Honor Life

No! To remain and pass
Is not to perdure, is not to exist
Nor to honor life!
There are so many ways of not being,
So much consciousness without wisdom,
Asleep

To deserve life, is not to be silent and abide
So many repeated injustices.
It is virtue, it is dignity!
And is to face it
With a defined identity!

That of remaining and passing
Gives us no right to be arrogant.
Because it is not the same to live
Than to honor life!

No! To remain and pass
Does not always suggest
We honor life!
So much petty vanity
In our silly humanity
Blinded.

To deserve life is to stand up straight,
Beyond evil, beyond falls.
It is the same as to give truth
And our own freedom
A welcome!

That of remaining and passing
Gives us no right to be arrogant.
Because it is not the same to live
Than to honor life!

Eladia Blázquez
(1931-2005)

I will be your partner

I will be your partner for parties and wine,
music, secret paths, lovers that flatter,
impure and libertine,
but when the wine is gone, if you feel imprisoned,
without love that is true, and your destination lost
among all the paths, I will be your partner.

And I will be your partner for the embrace and the glory,
for forgetting memories with time and money
and congratulatory pats.
But remember, if failure shows its ugly face:
the vanquished were always despised in their decline
by those who yesterday liked them. I will be your partner.

And I will be your partner for dreams and poetry,
what they call utopia, those who never understood it
because of stupidity or cowardliness,
And in the harshest reality and in the most sincere weeping,
and in the rebel outrage, with all my being,
to walk together, I stay with you. I will be your partner.

I will be your partner in reason, peace, and truth,
in justice and freedom, that is what I want the most
even if they bring solitude.
For the hate and the betrayal or the envy of the sly
or the informant of the jailer, I will not lend my heart,
and even if it pains me I do not want, you to call me, partner.

Rafael Amor
(1948)

Santa Marta

Santa Marta was a town
with geraniums and rose bushes,
laurels planted in the sidewalks,
and a square with a cathedral.
People greeted each other
and there were concert nights,
with youngsters around
and the municipal band.

The windows had no bars
and nobody locked the doors,
and the deserted city at noon
invited long chats and siestas.
There was no wake, marriage or cattle branding
that wasn't national mourning or celebration
in that place.
Santa Marta had Sundays
with barbecues and wine, with circles of friends
in nights of cards, guitars, and song.
In Winter afternoons frying dough and drinking mate.
The people had more time and could
share the simple things of life
in that city.

Progress little by little
changed Santa Marta:
cable TV,
and Internet access.
The people forgot
the daily things.
Now they speak another language
and live somewhere else.

Santa Marta plays at being in the first world
thanks to Shopping Centers and hamburgers,
fast food joints, English fashion.
They celebrate Halloween, what a surprise!
Now nobody leaves without locking their door.
Every man for himself, the party has ended,
with the siesta and the peace.

Santa Marta is now flooded
with diet music, with foreign shops
and in the orchards and fields nobody plants a thing
everythings comes done, and we have imported potatoes.
We pursue things nobody cares about
but the entire town looses their head
if there is a sale.

Santa Marta is informed
about the summit of Geneva,
whether the queen is ill,
or Palermo missed a penalty kick.
Everbody lives hearing
of a million new things
but nobody knows anymore
what happens in their city.

And although isolation is bad
when everyone is so connected
if the devil rules one must be careful
culture should never be set aside
not everything is for sale, not everything is a market
a tree without roots cannot stand
in a storm.

Mario Carrero & Eduardo Larbanois