Gabriel Ferrater

Translated by Johannes Beilharz

Gabriel FerraterThe night goes away, another night, and the wing
of an immense airplance has placed itself
between the wide blue and the window, and I wonder
whether it's the faintest kind of green or silver, cold
as the insistent fineness of the knife scraping
the imposition of excessive life
off the uterus, or the light itself, as the boy's hand
opens: he's getting tired of making a fist to
aggravate his brothers, pretending it holds some
kind of treasure. He gives away his prey, and I know
it's not anything that wasn't in me yesterday
and disconsolate, and I feel cold looking at myself
another day, dried-out pit of a fruit, pulpless,
outside the night.
The Aristocrats
Oh Borges, Lowell, oh American
patricians! You have your
history so close, and disgust is alive with you.
History is also close to me. And it nauseates me.
    I wouldn't know how to write the detailed poems
you write. Perhaps my disgust
(which has turned old because nobody tells its story),
like the ankles of a Gypsy girl,
will allow me to be skin and alive under the dirt,
but I'm rather grey, and only speaking
of generalizations, like a plebeian
who never heard, fresh and slow,
the memories of the women in the crowded
house, now empty: a well of fear.
House in fall
The Venetian blind, without closing at all, like
a somersault restraining itself so as not to fall on the ground,
separates us from the air. Look, thirty-seven
horizons open, upright and fragile,
but the heart forgets them. Without yearning,
the light keeps dieing on us that was honey-
colored, and that now has the color and smell of apples.
How slow, the world; how slow, the world; how slow,
the pain for the hours that go by
so hurriedly. Tell me, do you really
remember this season?
                                   "I like it very much.
Those voices of workers - Who are they?
a house is missing on the block.
                                   "They sing,
and today I can't hear them. They shout, they laugh,
and today, when they are silent, they are strangers to me."
                                   How slow,
the red leaves of the voices, how uncertain
when they come to cover us. Asleep,
the leaves of my kisses are covering
the shelters of your body, and while you forget
the high leaves of summer, the open days
without kisses, the body,
in its depths, remembers: your skin
is still half sun, half moon.

Gabriel Ferrater: Catalan poet, 1922-1972. Also translator of Kafka, Chomsky, Bloomfield and Gombrowicz and other writers into Catalan and Spanish and author of essays.

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