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Friday 9 July 2010

Two Views of Blue: "Like musical instruments..." / "Como instrumentos musicales..."

File:Sky niebo clouds chmury.jpg

Like musical instruments
Abandoned in a field
The parts of your feelings

Are starting to know a quiet
The pure conversion of your

Life into art seems destined

Never to occur
You don't mind

You feel spiritual and alert

As the air must feel
Turning into sky aloft and blue

You feel like

You'll never feel like touching anything or anyone

And then you do

File:Sky with puffy clouds.JPG

Como instrumentos musicales
abandonados en el campo
las partes de tu sentimiento

se disponen a conocer una quietud

la pura conversión de tu
vida en arte parece destinada

a no suceder nunca
no te importa

te sientes espiritual y alerta

como debe sentirse el aire
al girar en el cielo azul

sientes que

nunca podrás tocar algo o a alguien

de nuevo
y entonces lo haces


Poem ("Like musical instruments..."): Tom Clark, 1966
Poema ("Como instrumentos musicales..."): Spanish translation by Jordi Doce, 2008

Sky above Dunbar Harbour: photo by Flexdream, 2004
Sky with puffy clouds: photo by imageman, 2006
Blue sky with cumulus congestus: photo by Krzysztof, 2006


~otto~ said...

I was in the sky and never wanted to leave and then the end of the poem happened and it was a return to earth, happily.

~otto~ said...

(Couldn't read the Spanish version. I bet it sounds great out of the right mouth.)

TC said...


Any pretty words in Spanish always sound so pleasant to my ears, I am imagining all of them being sung to me at this moment.

And for those who do have some Spanish...

Jordi's translation first appeared on his great blog Perros en la Playa.

His translations of poetry in English, and his very interesting remarks about translation, may be found at Jordi Doce: Poetry and Translation (Spanish).

Sandra.if said...

twisted but positive!
(can "a quiet" be also translated as a "tregua" (truce)?

Curtis Roberts said...

I must say that I really enjoyed this in English. I would love to know more Spanish than I do. Some day, I guess.

human being said...


how beautifully the image in the first lines is transformed into the concluding lines... i relate much to this!

this old poem feels so fresh...

Rachel Loden said...

Great to see this again. I've loved it for a ridiculously long time.

Such sleight of hand, such an appearance of effortlessness!



Great clouds, great to go back to the sixties especially when one finds "Two Views of Blue" like this. . . . No blue here today, but this -- -


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, red-tailed hawk calling in right
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

changes the method in which
were seen, other events

opening on a letter at head
of word, space, surface

grey-white of fog reflected in channel,
wingspan of tern flapping toward ridge

TC said...


Quietud picks up the musical instruments qua musical instruments. Tregua would bring in the metaphor for human emotions. Sometimes it's interesting to see another word "behind" the one we have chosen. Alas, we can only pick one.


Well, it helps a bit with learning Classical Spanglish to watch one million Mexican football games and have one million conversations with Mexican food service workers. (The "real" Spanish I'd learned back in the Mesozoic period in books and in Spain was forgotten long ago.)


It still feels fresh for me too, and especially seeing it in Spanish. I am reminded that once upon a time the bewildering complexities could somehow blow away and things could look simple... for one moment.


Many thanks, a word from a master (you) is always special.


Lots of grey-whiteness here too. What we need is a good tern.