Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Vicente Huidobro: Poetry Is a Celestial Transgression


File:Beech tree graffiti - - 686131.jpg

Beech tree graffiti. None of the usual initials inside a heart shape are on this tree by the B6397 near Smailholm. The smooth thin bark on a beech tree has always been a target for youngsters with a penknife: photo by Walter Baxter, 9 February 2008

I'm not here but at the depths of this not being here
There is a waiting for myself
And this vigil is another way of being here a waiting
For myself to come back into myself 
While waiting I go out
Into other
In this going out I give away a little of my life
To certain trees certain stones
That have been waiting for me
All these years

Tired of waiting they have given up hope and fallen back
Into themselves

I'm not and I am
I'm not here and I am here
In a waiting
They wanted
My language
To express them
And I wanted theirs
To express
And in this lay the mistake the great

This pathetic state
Carving myself deeper into these plants
My clothes falling away from my bones
My bones reclothing themselves in bark
I'm beginning to feel like I've become
A tree I've been changing myself
Into so many other things how dolorous
How tender

I could cry out but this cry would frighten away the desired
Must keep silent Waiting completely


Vicente Huidobro: Juan Gris, c. 1917

Yo estoy ausente pero en el fondo de esta ausencia
Hay la espera de mí mismo
Y esta espera es otro modo de presencia
La espera de mi retorno
Yo estoy en otros objetos
Ando en viaje dando un poco de mi vida
A ciertos árboles y a ciertas piedras
Que me han esperado muchos años

Se cansaron de esperarme y se sentaron

Yo no estoy y estoy
Estoy ausente y estoy presente en estado de espera
Ellos querrían mi lenguaje para expresarse
Y yo querría el de ellos para expresarlos
He aquí el equívoco el atroz equívoco

Angustioso lamentable
Me voy adentrando en estas plantas
Voy dejando mis ropas
Se me van cayendo las carnes
Y mi esqueleto se va revistiendo de cortezas
Me estoy haciendo árbol Cuántas cosas me he ido convirtiendo en otras cosas...
Es doloroso y lleno de ternura

Podría dar un grito pero se espantaría la transubstanciación
Hay que guardar silencio Esperar en silencio

Vicente García-Huidobro Fernández (1893-1948): La Poesía es un atentado celeste from
Últimos Poemas (Later Poems), 1948; English version by TC

File:Vicente huidobro.jpg

Vicente Huidobro (1893-1948): photographer unknown, n.d. (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid)

Tumba Vicente Huidobro
, Cartagena (Chile): photo by provinciasanantonio, 10 August 2009


Vicente Huidobro -- Tout à coup: Pablo Picasso, 1921; image by Iliazd, 30 January 2009


Cienfuegos #33, Santiago, donde vivió Vicente Huidobro: photo by romántica santiaguina (Sara Ruiz), 23 October 2012


Anonymous said...

maravillosa sensación de espera y transformación....qué hermoso !! encantó el poema ...y las fotos con su información...gracias Tom

Anonymous said...

is that your translation Tom? I would love to post that in my poetry blog...

ACravan said...

This is a wonderful discovery for me that (sadly) suits my mood. The pictures are great also. I've lived a life not carving things into tree bark because I was warned against doing it early. But I understand and appreciate that it's done. Curtis

Anonymous said...

oh...I see now that is your english nice!

Hazen said...

Huidobro creates something beautiful out of the ambiguity of transformation and all the variant readings of self we’re subject to. ‘How many things I've gone about changing into other things.’

Maybe the real spirit of Vicente Huidobro is in that tree, and the sign points away as a diversionary tactic to absence, to the tomb where he isn’t. Gone into trees and stones! ‘ . . . waiting for myself . . .’

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Vicente of the sad, piercing eyes.

Wooden Boy said...

Flakes of a self hungry for the still beginning moment lost to the order of things; pitiful kenosis.

The breathless striving in the last two lines is all too palpable.

The translation is wonderful. It makes me wish I had the Spanish for this.

TC said...

Sandra, Muchas gracias, mi amiga. Acerca de volver a colocar en su blog -- por supuesto que está bien, como siempre.

Vassilis, the sad, piercing eyes -- I saw them even in the tree bark drawing, and the windows at the end of that long vanishing street.

Ah, Susan, those starfish lashes.

Hazen, "the ambiguity of transformation and all the variant readings of self we’re subject to...a diversionary tactic to absence" -- these words come very close to this poem that seems to withdraw from us, even as the poet seems to have withdrawn from himself.

WB, yes this does seem a bit of cubistical kenosis, now that you mention it. Or as the message might once have echoed down yon grassy slope

τοῦτο γὰρ φρονείσθω ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ, ὃς ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ, ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος, καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ.

and across the Great Void to 1611 and thence over the hill into the Void:

Let this minde bee in you, which was also in Christ Iesus: Who being in the forme of God, thought it not robbery to bee equall with God: But made himselfe of no reputation, and tooke vpon him the forme of a seruant, and was made in the likenesse of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himselfe, and became obedient vnto death, euen the death of the Crosse.

That feeling of being the mere shell of oneself, from which something essential has departed -- a "blown husk," as Pound puts it so well even while losing words altogether toward the end of the Cantos -- is perhaps the other side of what Keats, still too young to know the full meaning of what he was saying, and perhaps a bit tipsy too after the night out at the Christmas Mummers' play (a tiny lad, with a limited capacity), called Negative Capability.

TC said...


Know what you mean about the mood-fit.

We've just been appreciating your friendship anew, here, what with today's pleasant musical surprise.

We hope the season proves no madder than necessary, there, for you, C & J.



Must keep silent Waiting completely


light coming into sky above black plane
of ridge, silver of planet below branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

no longer being-there-with-
it, and by means only

of another picture, painted
on canvas, presenting

silver line of sun reflected in channel,
whiteness of gull flapping toward point

tpw said...

TC: Wonderful poem & visuals. Thanks for turning me onto his work.