3 poems by Anabelle Aguilar Brealey translated from the Spanish by Diana Manole with Anabelle Aguilar Brealey

Saudade1

I’ll leave the growing grass
the vines in bloom
            the barking dog

the sloppiness
of the neighbour
            who is no cronopio32

the Pakistani lady
squatting in
to rip the yellow cardosanto3
            who cries about her widowhood
                  every morning

the two-sloped rooftops
hoping for rain

the tree leaves
of the last season
with their faint rustling

my winter coat
with age in its wool
and one missing button
the children
            with bright eyes
                        and violet smiles

the smell
of fresh ginger
and vanilla from Madagascar

I’ll take only the hummingbird
            in my small cotton purse
            to give it a minimalist garden
            as home.
            in my small cotton purse
            to give it a minimalist garden
            as home.

_____________________

  1. Saudade: (in Portuguese folk culture) a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.
  2. A cronopio is a fictional character who appears in works by Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar.
  3. Cardosanto, prickly poppy in English: Argemone mexicana, a poppy found in Mexico, with bright yellow latex.

Saudade

Dejo creciendo las hierbas
floreciendo las enredaderas

                        el perro ladrando

el descuido
del vecino
                        que no es cronopio

la paquistaní arrancando
en cuclillas
el cardosanto amarillo
                        y llorando su viudez
                                    cada mañana

los techos de dos aguas
esperando la lluvia

las hojas
de la última estación
con su crujido leve

mi abrigo de invierno
con la vejez en su lana y
un botón de menos
los niños
            de ojos brillantes
                        y sonrisa violeta

el olor
a jengibre fresco
y a vainilla
de Madagascar
solo me llevo el colibrí
            va en mi cartera
            de tela de algodón
            para darle un minimalista
            jardín de residencia

Signs

It’s the madness of the middle of the rope
the clairvoyance of the acute 

the logic lost in the instant
of birth

it’s the refined wrapping of all the confusion
at the return of dusk

it’s the elbow as small as a wing
emaciated and sad
her blind blue eye

Why join the eye to tears
if the body is water
pure and sacred?                                                

How does the pain arise
in an apple
hollow and sweet?

Is it like she says
like she said
like I say?                                        

            It all started
            before I noticed
            in the marks on
            my body
                        a grudge
                        almost
                        purple

everything’s planned over time
in an innocent manner
             silencing Babel

Signos

Es la locura el centro de la cuerda
la clarividencia de lo agudo

es la lógica perdida en el instante
del parto

es refinado el envoltorio de tanta confusión
en el retorno al crepúsculo

es el ala un pequeño codo
descarnado y triste
con un ojo azul y ciego

Por qué unir ojo y lágrima
si el cuerpo es agua pura
y sagrada

Cómo es que viene el dolor
en una manzana
agujereada y dulce

¿Es así como lo dice
como lo dijo
como lo digo?

            todo empezó
            antes de que lo
            reseñara
            en las marcas
            de mi cuerpo
                        un rencor
                        casi
                        cárdeno

se planifica en tiempo
de manera inocente
                        enmudece Babel

Statistics

I venture
in search of
the philosopher’s stone

the storm
is my skin
my shoes
are soiled

if the stone is found
no philosopher follows

cowards get scared
of my presence

I’m still waiting
at the gates of Ur

scorched
with heat                             

my open jaws
drooling

if born defective
a verse doesn’t make it

Estadística

 

Me aventuro
a buscar
la piedra de los sabios

la tormenta
es mi piel
mis zapatos
tienen polvo

si aparece la piedra
no aflora el sabio

huyen los cobardes
ante mi presencia

espero todavía
en las puertas de Ur

echada
con calor
mis fauces abiertas
soltando baba

cuando nace defectuoso
el verso no se logra

Anabelle Aguilar Brealey, Photo

Anabelle Aguilar Brealey was born in Costa Rica and spent more than four decades in Venezuela. In 2014, she emigrated to Canada for political and family reasons. She has published 19 Spanish-language prose and poetry books in Costa Rica, Venezuela and Spain. These are her work’s first translations into English.

About the contributor

Diana Manole is a Romanian-Canadian scholar, literary translator, and the author of ten collections of poems, short prose, and drama. She has also translated or co-translated seven poetry collections; her co-translations with Adam J. Sorkin of Emilian Galaicu-Păun’s poems won 2nd prize in the 2018 John Dryden Translation Competition.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Please join me in welcoming Anabelle to English language poetry! My big thanks to “The Blue Nib” and editor Clara Burghelea for giving these poems and translations a home and my deepest gratitude to Anabelle for trusting to translate her wonderful poems and helping me do it.

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