The Will and Testament of Babel and Ad

Poetry

 

A word in exile / makes a place for itself with a hoarse voice amidst failure

Poetry by Federico Díaz Granados and Carlos J. Aldazábal Translated from the Spanish by Jeremy Paden


The Will and Testament of Babel

A word in exile,
makes a place for itself with a hoarse voice amidst failure,
and it names, with the baffled language of music and wounds,
the thawing.

I don’t recognize the scar of that word,
the hunger and the omens brought home
by birds who burn down mirrors
and the sadness that follows life’s unexpected hours.

Your shadow alone hovers over my word,
storms that shower heavenly cities
and the fallen courtyards of childhood.

Don’t dream another wind,
don’t dream me as some pain grown old,
don’t dream time and this word,
the strange death that beats inside the body
like lepers whose color changes with their wounds.
It’s the echo of a cinder in the nests of the heart.
It’s the knowledge that one lives in this pleiad of failed encounters.

Testamento de Babel
by Federico Díaz Granados 

Una palabra en su destierro,
con la voz ronca se hace un sitio entre las derrotas
y nombra en confusa lengua de músicas y heridas
los deshielos.

No reconozco la cicatriz de esa palabra,
el hambre y los presagios que traen a casa
los pájaros que incendian los espejos
y la tristeza que sigue a horas imprevistas a la vida.

Solo tu sombra sobrevuela mi palabra,
tempestades que derraman ciudades celestiales
y patios derrumbados de la infancia.

No sueñes otro viento,
no me sueñes como un dolor envejecido,
no sueñes el tiempo y esta palabra,
la extraña muerte que golpea dentro del cuerpo
como leprosos que mudan de color con sus heridas.
Es el eco de una ceniza en los nidos del corazón.
Es el saberse vivo en esta pléyade de desencuentros.

[Díaz-Granados, Federico. “Testamento de Babel.” Las prisas del
instante [Momentary Urgencies]. Madrid, Spain: Visor, 2015]


Ad

Wanted, a translator
capable of working out this “saudade,”
this beaver with neither teeth nor wood,
this nocturnal and sleepless condor
that brags about being a vulture with a bone.

“Nostalgia” is unacceptable,
so is “the far-off possession of memory,”
and “the spent perfume of melancholy.”
“To miss” is not allowed,
“to pierce,” “to suffocate,”
“to presume you’re dying from abandonment.”
Ship metaphors are unacceptable,
as are lighthouses wrapped in port-fog.

Wanted, a translator for “saudade”
capable of getting rid of sadness,
who knows Portuguese,
who can say in Spanish a January sun
dancing in the foam of Ipanema.


Aviso
by Carlos J. Aldazábal

Se busca traductora
capaz de descifrar esta “saudade”,
este castor sin dientes ni madera,
este cóndor nocturno y desvelado
que presume de buitre sobre un hueso.
No se admite “nostalgia”,
tampoco “la remota posesión del recuerdo”
o “el perfume gastado de la melancolía”.
No es posible “que extrañe”,
“que taladre”, “que asfixie”,
“que pretenda morirse de abandono”.
No se admiten metáforas de barcos
ni faroles tapados por la bruma de un puerto.
Se busca traductora de “saudade”
capaz de prescindir de la tristeza,
que sepa portugués,
que diga en castellano un sol de enero
bailando entre la espuma de Ipanema.

 [Aldazábal, Carlos J.  “Aviso.” Camerata carioca [Carioca Concert]. 
Granada, Spain: Valparaíso Ediciones, 2017.]

Federico Díaz-Granados (1974, Bogotá, Colombia) is a poet, journalist, and teacher. He is the author of four collections of poems: Voices of Fire (1995), The House of Wind (2000), Roadhouse (2003), and Urgencies of the Moment (2015). He is also the editor of several anthologies of contemporary Colombian and Latin American poetry.

Carlos J. Aldazábal (1974, Salta, Argentina) is a poet and a professor of literature. He is the author of nine collections of poetry: Monk’s Rride (1966), Why We Want to be William (1999), No One Raises His Voice in Prayer (2003), The Country House (2007), The Bank Is Closed (2010), A Stone to the Chest (2013), The Usual Visits (2014) and Carioca Concert (2017). A Stone to the Chest won the Premio Alhambra de Poesía Americana in 2013.

Jeremy Paden (1974, Milan, Italy) is a Spanish professor, poet, and translator. He is the author of Broken Tulips (2013), ruina montium (2016), and prison recipes (2018). His poems and translations have appeared in Cincinnati Review, Limestone, Louisville Review, Pluck, and Rattle, among other places. 

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