Saturday, July 7, 2007

and then, Rafael Alberti

Since I've devoted an entire post to both Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Songs from the Quechua, I'd say that I owe one to Rafael Alberti as well. He, too, was an accidental discovery, thanks to Mark Strand, and from what I can tell, his work is weighty. He has an entire collection of "Angel" poems, ranging from The Angel of Numbers, Song of the Luckless Angel, The Angel of Ash, etc.
This put me in mind of William Carlos Williams with his progression of the "Love Song" motif. But alas, here's a bit of Alberti:


The sea. The sea.
The sea. Only the sea!

Father, why did you bring me
to the city?

Why did you dig me up
from the sea?

In dreams, the surf
tugs at my heart
and wants to carry it off.

Father, why did you bring me

Fragments of a Wish

...That when air is disloyal to the straightness of lilies,
it be sentenced to die by whirling water;
the the shadow of sorrow need not be what trees push toward the west;
that the forest ranger tell you who pays for the cold;

that if in your country all hope is lost in the long heat of summer,
the snows in my country help you to get it back;
that if the tread of a shoe doesn't have time to put a violet to sleep,
you spend your life here, culling the cycles of rain.

It is sad,
very sad to know that a hand stamped in dust
lasts a shorter time than it takes a leaf to face up to its death.

Isn't it painful when those threads suddenly die against your cheeks,
when emptied from clouds they freeze in pools?

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