Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fleeing Toward Our Presence

—Roberto Juarroz, Argentina

The bottom of things is neither life nor death.
My proof is
the air that goes barefoot in the birds,
a roof of absences that makes room for the silence,
and this look of mine that turns around at the bottom
as everything turns around at the end.

And my further proof is
my childhood that was bread before wheat,
my childhood that knew
that there were smokes that descend,
voices that nobody uses for talking,
roles in which a man does not move.

The bottom of things is neither life nor death.
The bottom is something else
that sometimes comes out on top.


—Roberto Juarroz

The emptiness of the day
condenses into a point
that falls like a drop
into the river.

The fullness of the day
condenses into a minute orifice
that sucks that drop
out of the river.

From what fullness to what emptiness
or from what emptiness to what fullness
is the river flowing?

The eye draws on the white ceiling
a little line.
The ceiling takes up the eye's illusion
and turns black.
Then the line erases itself
and the eye closes.

Thus solitude is born.


—Roberto Juarroz

The bell is full of wind
though it does not ring.
The bird is full of flight
through it is still.
The sky is full of clouds
though it is alone.
The word is full of voice
though no one speaks it.
Everything is full of fleeing
though there are no roads.

Everything is fleeing
toward its presence.


—Roberto Juarroz

The prompting of my shadow
has taught me to be humble.
It doesn't care whether it draws me
on the bony seats of the trains
early in the morning,
on the seamless walls of the cemeteries
or on the penumbras of short cuts
that betray the city.

The frame doesn't matter to it,
nor the stilted epigraphs.
My shadow impersonates me step by step,
misleads me into the sockets of all the corners,
never answers my questions.

My shadow has taught me to adopt other shadows.

My shadow has put me in my place.


—Roberto Juarroz

Every word is a doubt,
every silence another doubt.
the intertwining of both
lets us breathe.

All sleeping is a sinking down,
all waking another sinking.
the intertwining of both
lets us rise up again.

All life is a form of vanishing,
all death another form.
the intertwining of both
lets us be a sign in the void.

(Today's poems were translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin or Mary Crow)



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