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Dreams of purity are always dangerous | by aurelio.asiain
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Dreams of purity are always dangerous

Cuídate de los sueños de pureza


This photo belongs to The Asiain Gallery.


Minamoto no Sanetomo (1192-1291), third and last Shogun of Kamakura, was killed by his cousin in front of the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine the day of New Year. He disliked power and politics, loved poetry and left one of the most distinctive and powerful oeuvres of Japanese literature. For Masaoka Shiki, one of the founders of modern tradition, he was the best poet of all ages. I am not so sure of that and have no authority to make a decision, but he is one of my most beloved poets in any language. This is one of his poems:








Steven D. Carter's English version:


Autumn's gone away.

The wind has blown from the trees

every single leaf;

and the mountains are forlorn

now that winter has come.


My own Spanish one:


Se fue el otoño:

con el viento las hojas

se desprendieron.

Los montes están solos.

Ha llegado el invierno.


As you can read below, A V A (wonderful photographies in her photostream, guys: don't waste your time here) made me remember another poem in connection with this one:




Si pierdo la memoria, qué pureza.

En la azul crestería la tarde se demora,

retiene su oro en mallas lejanísimas,

cuela la luz por un resquicio último, se extiende y me delata

como un arco que tiembla sobre el aire encendido.

¿Que esperaba el silencio? Príncipes de la tarde, ¿qué palacios

holló mi pie, que nubes o arrecifes, qué estrellado país?

Duró más que nosotros aquella rosa muerta.

Qué dulce es al oído el rumor con que giran los planetas del agua.


I had the honor of proposing Gimferrer to the Octavio Paz Prize last year, as part of the jury that finally decided in his favor. For those interested, there's a good anthology of his poems here:


A brief selection for English readers is available here:

It does not include the poem quoted above, unfortunately. But you can find this one:




Something more than the gift of synthesis:

to see in the light the transit of the light.


Translated by D. Sam Abrams (Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988).

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Taken on January 1, 2007