20/2/2012

translation experiment (iii)

Here is a 3rd attempt. It's closer to the poem that I would write itself, but not quite there yet. Sometimes that involves getting closer, not further from the original, even if further from literality in some instances. I plan to do this with all twenty poems in this particular book.
Now, with so many hours getting left behind,
forgetting already their shaping and possession,
I feel once gain, in a flash of wings behind glass
reversing the darkness of the skies,
as though, with their plumage of major poets,
petrel and kingfisher had come to inform me
that no more than the precisely necessary change had occured
in this thread of life on which I succeed myself.


Atencia is a wonderful poet from Málaga who stopped writing between the early sixties and about '76. When she came back to poetry she developed into one of the most strikingly original poets in the contemporary Spanish language. She's received a lot of attention among American Hispanists as well. Her poetry perpetually plays with the border between self and non-self, inside and outside. Here we see the speaker in her house, behind window panes, being advised by messenger birds from the sea that the thread of her life continues. There have been changes, but no more than the necessary ones. There is an equilibrium, an equanimity.