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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Mario Benedetti: Sea Bottle


Playa en la costa del Río de la Plata. Riachuelo, Uruguay: photo by Diego Landru, September 2010

.....The sea is chance

..... .-- Vicente Huidobro

I cast these six lines in this bottle into the sea

in the secret hope it someday sails

as far as a nearly deserted stretch of sand

where a child comes across it and opens it

and extracts not lines but consolations and little stones

and warnings to take care and snails

Playa en la costa del Río de la Plata. Riachuelo, Uruguay: photo by Diego Landru, September 2010

Botella al mar

......El mar es un azar

......-- Vicente Huidobro

Pongo estos seis versos en mi botella al mar

con el secreto designio de que algún día

llegue a una playa casi desierta

y un niño la encuentre y la destape

y en lugar de versos extraiga piedritas

y socorros y alertas y caracoles.

Playa en la costa del Río de la Plata. Riachuelo, Uruguay: photo by Diego Landru, September 2010

Photography by Diego Landro, 12 September 2010, across the Río de la Plata, on the outskirts of Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay

Botella al mar (Bottle in the Sea): Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), translated by TC


Julia said...

Recién veo este otro post. ¡Dos con las fotos de Diego! Me alegro de que te hayan inspirado a publicar estos dos posts! :-)

TC said...

El placer es todo mío!

Anonymous said...

amazing pics...wonderful words....thanks Tom!

Anonymous said...

Until a few minutes ago I knew nothing about either Benedetti or Huidobro, but now I know a little that I like a lot. It's amazing how much one doesn't know and what books necessarily leave out (because you can't tell the whole story of everything in one place).

"but consolations and little stones

and warnings to take care and snails"

That's great. For some reason, most days lately involve encounters with snails. What on earth is that object on the beach? Part of a ship, clearly, but what? Being Uruguay, I always think of the Graf Spee.

TC said...

Sandra, Curtis, many thanks.

That mysterious object on the beach remains to be identified.

With snails, we too have a history of close encounters.

There's a lovely post about them (the creatures that is, not our encounters) on Meliora Latent, the blog of Julia D'Onofrio, whose husband Diego Landro took these remarkable photos of mysterious objects on the beach at Rio de la Plata.

Voyaging Snails.

Julia said...

I'm glad you like the photos! Tom's words made them shine, obviously.

I'll ask the photographer if he can answer some of the questions... I wasn't there on that trip. I detest sunken ships, in fact. But perhaps he or my father who also was there, knows exactly what these "mortal remains" are.

Diego said...

Thanks for the comments om my pics.
TC, thanks for making the photos look better with those great texts besides them: yours, Benedetti and Huidobro's.
I can identify that strange object if you want, but maybe you prefer that it remains unidentified.

TC said...


Ah, I should have known... you and sunken ships!

(Julia has one of the most beautiful photo blogs on earth, and one of her most haunting posts addresses the fear of shipwrecks.)


As you so kindly offer, I must confess that, yes, I would very much like to know what that strange object is.

(Many thanks again!)

TC said...

El más obvio adivinar ... una parte de un barco hundido ... un petrolero, tal vez? (Perdóname, Julia!)

Diego said...

TC, now i see that you do want me to identify that strange object. Those are the remains of some signaling buoys that lost their anchors and were washed on the shore. This particular structure photographed here, the 'sea bottle' is the drum that makes the buoy float.

TC said...

That's very interesting, Diego. I think it adds another dimension to the Benedetti poem.

(I sometimes think poems possess a sort of "afterlife" -- a shifting halo of significance that is altered or enlarged whenever one returns with a new way of reading or interpreting.)

TC said...

I have been poking about in search of a proper signal buoy, to match Diego's. Unsuccessfully, alas.

The closest thing I could find was this World War II-period Soviet submarine emergency telephone buoy. But it looks a rather primitive affair, up against Diego's fascinating device.

(I did discover, however, that for the various kinds of buoys, there are various practical uses, made by various creatures, e.g. those using this navigation buoy as an impromptu dormitory.)

Julia said...

"Julia has one of the most beautiful photo blogs on earth"

This is way too much, Tom!
Anyway we will give you our pics, even if you don't exaggerate it like you did. ;-)

But thank you, you're VERY kind. Although I know it's crazy, I'm really honoured that you said this crazy things of my silly blog.

Julia said...

Ah, I forgot: Diego says he will show you some "functioning" buoys, later. He's painting our bedroom now :-)

TC said...

Gracias, I'll look forward to that.

He is a man of many talents. And obviously well-trained.

(We may soon need a marker buoy ourselves, here, it has been raining all day and all night and for many days and nights before that, as well...)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pointers to Meliora Latent (that pool/lake/mountain vista is just incredibly beautiful) and further buoy study. The buoy field does suggest all sorts of possibilities.

Diego said...

TC, this is the best example of a floating buoy similar to the one that is shored in Uruguay.
This particular one is a "safe wtaer" buoy, indicating deep waters around it. The one in Uruguay was most probably a buoy indicating a way in or out of a canal for big ships. In the Rio de la Plata this is very important, because being a river with so many sediments in its water, the riverbed changes depth almost constantly, so if you don't watch carefully your buoys you end up aground.

TC said...

Thank you again, Diego. I begin now to visualize this a bit better. When the object is out of the water, the portals and vents can be seen, and the mystery clears away... almost.

I did turn up this beached buoy.

(But the fellow in the picture is not exactly a beach boy.)