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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Poem Written in Poor Spanish



If in the world there exists pain
If in the world there remains feeling
If in the world there survives a soul

In minus time-space
Or plus soul-time
Forgive me all this

In your trembling fingers
In your bright clear eyes
In your deracinated lips

Circling before the anticipated
Deluge, the white sea birds
Black lashes still wet, matted

File:Seagull ml.jpg

Gulls in sky, Fornalutx, Mallorca: photo by Pau Cabot, 2004
Seagull in flight: photo by Macieklew, 2007


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Very fine. The last three lines have a haiku quality, commenting obliquely on what's come before ...

... and what is to come, as those who live or have lived by the sea know. The detail of the matted lashes very fine, indeed.


Curtis Roberts said...

It is very fine indeed as Don says, each tercet for me, and heartbreaking or heartlifting depending on mood. At one point we visited Mallorca regularly. It was a long time ago and I don't ever remember seeing gulls like that although the vertical view of the blue sky and clouds looks familiar. Paired with the Darwish poem (I really love that honeycomb photo), it's interesting but very, very complicated and and confusing and begins to test limits, which I guess were familiar to Darwish.

TC said...

Thanks for these two terrific early morning (for me, I'm still, in fact always, in the dark) readings.

Easy to be grateful to a true reader for this kind of early a.m. (or noon or sundown or night for that matter) generosity. And I am.


The final tercet said to me, "consider Don's view of things, and consider leaving out everything but this".

But then the voice of a subterranean über-Don said, "No, go with it."


You will see from the above that I understand what you mean about testing limits. Whether with risk comes reward would probably be in the eye of the beholder; for whom, finally, the rewards, were there ever to be any, were all intended in any case.

That is a very full empty Mallorcan sky, certainly. Envy you and C. your trips there, wish I'd been stowing away. (Meant to go several times back when such things were possible, but always ended up cooling my heels in the shady quarters of the port in Malaga or Cadiz or somewhere not quite close enough.)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

It is all one and, of course, stands that way so very well.

Of course, my mind is frequently on the Eastern forms I so love and so I thought of haiga, art and haiku (a variation of which you, to very great effect, do with photos here everyday) and haibun, which is the prose/haiku combination popularized by Bashō.

I realize this is tangential but somehow, for me, these various forms inform, if you will, this poem. Perhaps, as a reader, it is simply the path I took to arrive.

In any case, such a powerful, wrenching view.

Anonymous said...

Striking, both in content and form. This poem written in poor Spanish is not poor at all. I am deeply moved.



Beautiful poem this one, followed by the Darwish, things to think on today ("such stuff as dreams are made on"). Something in the parallel universes we inhabit here, too, when coupled to these 2 photos ---


blinding silver edge of sun above black
plane of ridge, red-tailed hawk calling
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

appearance of which, meaning
perhaps “to think that”

surface attention to process,
contradictions, as when

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
wingspan of gull gliding toward horizon

TC said...


Yes about the forms informing. As you know one is always "channeling" something or someone. Whether one is aware of it or not.


My Spanish would be even poorer -- el peor del mundo -- were it not for your elevating influence.


wingspan of gull gliding toward horizon

brings a perfect lift this morning.

Anonymous said...

why in poor spanish?

TC said...

lluvia, thanks for asking the question this poem, with its perhaps rather coy title, seem almost to be inviting.

I sometimes feel English is, of its nature and essence, too restrictive in feeling to convey certain kinds of emotion and too uneasy with metaphors to permit certain kinds of figurative gesture.

I suppose with this one I wrote it first in my head in very poor "street" Spanish, and then "translated" it back.

My Spanish extends as far as a bit of reading, but speaking is a challenge, and my Spanish speaking street acquaintances make great sport of saying things to one another in my presence which they assume I will not understand.

But I listen closely anyway, and despite the necessary embarrassment, do learn something now and again. Mostly about how much I don't know.

One ought to learn languages in early childhood, when the mind is light and agile and flexible as well as young.

My several years of college Spanish allowed me to get along fairly well in Spain, but a lot of braincells have taken early retirement since then.

There are currently the rare circumstances here in which a relatively natural conversation in Spanish arises. Often these occasions involve another with me in mutual disappointment with the increasingly impersonal course of transactions with the corporate and governmental agencies which control this society.

If America is going to "do" you, I figure, about the only way you can (however meekly) fight back is to refuse, at least intermittently, to employ its language.

For instance, last night, as we stood disappointed in a line that was being closed down at a pharmacist's, I found that another frustrated codger and myself were exchanging weary glances.

Que lastima, quoth he.

Sí, señor, I said.

Anonymous said...

thanks so much Tom for your answer...english has been a challenge for me for years...people in general have the idea that spanish is a very "rich" language in terms of amount of synonyms...but I have discovered that english has some very interesting words related with love and romance for example, that we do not have and I often have found some words in english that I can not find the appropiate meaning in is very interesting this subject about languages......:)it would be nice to make a poem with both sometimes...! to use a language we have to be bold....I surely will always make mistakes.....and the dictionary is a good friend but I am also lazy to look at it ...:)(please give me your email if you can)

TC said...


"Inglés tiene algunas palabras muy interesantes relacionados con el amor y el romance por ejemplo, que no tenemos ..."

Inglés tiene las palabras, tal vez, pero parece que el español tiene los sentimientos.

Cada lengua tiene un carácter propio, ¿no te parece?

Sandra (if) said...

si Tom así es....pero de sentimientos no podría decir las lengua refleja toda la cultura de los pueblos...!

human being said...

soft... and touching...