Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jorge Guillén: Death in the Distance

        I supported the brilliance of pure death.
                                        Valéry

Once in awhile I feel an anguish,
And my future shudders before me.
A wall suddenly stalks 
The final suburb into which stumbles


The light of the countryside. Who'll be sad
If the sun strips it all away? No, there's no hurry
Yet. What's urgent is the ripe
Fruit. The hand already peels it.


... And a day between the days will be all
The more sad. The hand must tend to it
Without longing.  And abiding by the impending


One day I'll say without as much as a snivel: do it
True death. The old pale wall is going
To impose on me its law, not its accident.
--

Translated by John Samuel Tieman



Muerte A Lo Lejos


        Je soutenais l'éclat de la mort toute pure.
                                                Valéry


Alguna vez me angustia una certeza,
Y ante mí se estremece mi futuro.
Acechándolo está de pronto un muro
Del arrabal final en que tropieza


La luz del campo. ¿Mas habrá tristeza
Si la desnuda el sol? No, no hay apuro
Todavía. Lo urgente es el maduro
Fruto. La mano ya lo descorteza.


...Y un día entre los días el más triste
Será. Tenderse deberá la mano
Sin afán. Y acatando el inminente


Poder diré sin lágrimas: embiste,
Justa fatalidad. El muro cano
Va a imponerme su ley, no su accidente.
-----

Translation copyright 2019 John Samuel Tieman.
Jorge Guillén Álvarez (1893 – 1984) was a Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of ’27, as well as a university teacher, scholar and literary critic.

One comment on “Jorge Guillén: Death in the Distance

  1. Barbara Huntington
    January 29, 2021

    I love being introduced to poets I don’t know. Thanks, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

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