Francisca Aguirre, National Literature Prize 2018, Poetry, Translated from Spanish by Amparo Arróspide & Robin Ouzman Hislop

Francisca Aguirre, Premio Nacional de las Letras 2018 El jurado la ha elegido “por estar su poesía (la más machadiana de la generación del medio siglo) entre la desolación y la clarividencia, la lucidez y el dolor”

Francisca Aguirre, National Literature Prize 2018. The jury chose it “because its poetry is (the most Machadian* of the generation of the half century) between desolation and clairvoyance, lucidity and pain”

* In the tradition of Antonio Machado

https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/11/13

Francisca Aguirre was born in 1930 in Alicante, Spain and died in Madrid in 2019, she had fled with her family to France at the end of the Spanish Civil War, where they lived in political exile. When the Germans invaded Paris in 1942, her family was forced to return to Spain, where her father, painter Lorenzo Aguirre, was subsequently murdered by Francisco Franco’s regime.

Aguirre published Ítaca (1972), currently available in English (Ithaca [2004]), when she was 42 years old. Her work has garnered much critical success, winning the Leopoldo Panero, Premio Ciudad de Irún, and Premio Galliana, among other literary prizes. Aguirre was married to the poet Félix Grande and is the mother of poet Guadalupe Grande.

Excerpts from “NANAS PARA DORMIR DESPERDICIOS”

LULLABIES TO LULL THROWN AWAYS

by FRANCISCA AGUIRRE

NANA DE LAS SOBRAS A Esperanza y Manuel Rico Vaya

canción la de las sobras, eso sí
                      que era una nana para dormir el hambre.
Vaya canción aquella
                      que cantaba mi abuela con aquella voz
que era la voz de la misericordia
disfrazada de voz angelical.
                             Porque la voz de mi abuela
nos cantaba la canción de las sobras.
                             Y nosotras, que no conocíamos el pan,
cantábamos con ella que
                             las sobras de pan eran sagradas,
las sobras de pan nunca se tiran.

Siempre recordaré su hermosa voz
cantando aquella nana mientras el hambre nos dormía.
                                         **
LULLABY FOR LEFTOVERS                                                          To  Esperanza and Manuel Rico

 

Well, a leftovers song,
                    that truly was a lullaby to lull hunger to sleep.
Wow, that song 
                    my grandmother sang with a voice
that was the voice of mercy
disguised as the voice of an angel.
                              Because my grandmother´s voice
sang for us the leftovers song.
                              And we, who did not know bread,
sang together with her that
                              bread leftovers were holy,
bread leftovers shall never be thrown away.

 

I will always remember her beautiful voice
singing that lullaby while hunger lulled us to sleep.

 

**

NANA DE LAS HOJAS CAÍDAS
A Marián Hierro
Casi todo lo que se pierde tiene música,
una música oculta, inolvidable.
Pero las hojas, esas criaturas parlanchinas
que son la voz de nuestros árboles,
tienen, como la luz, el agua y las libélulas
una nana secreta y soñadora.
Lo que se pierde, siempre nos deja
un rastro misterioso y cantarín.

Las hojas verdes o doradas
cantan su desamparo mientras juegan al corro.
Cantan mientras los árboles las llaman
como llaman las madres a sus hijos
sabiendo que es inútil, que han crecido
y que se han ido a recorrer el mundo.

****

LULLABY FOR FALLEN LEAVES
To Marián Hierro

Almost everything which is lost has a music,
a hidden, unforgettable music.
But leaves, those chattering creatures
who are the voices of our trees
have — like light, water and dragonflies —
a secret dreamy lullaby.
That which is lost to us, always leaves
the mysterious trace of its song.
Green or golden leaves
sing of their neglect as they dance their ring a ring of roses.
They sing while trees call to them
as mothers do calling their children
knowing it is futile, as they have grown up
and left to travel the world over.

**

NANA DE LAS CARTAS VIEJAS

Tienen el olor desvalido del abandono
y el tono macilento del silencio.
Son desperdicios de la memoria, residuos de dolor,
y hay que cantarles muy bajito
para que no despierten de su letargo.
En ocasiones las manos se tropiezan con ellas
y el pulso se acelera
porque notamos que las palabras
como si fueran mariposas
quieren bailar delante de nosotros
y volver a contarnos el secreto
que duerme entre sus páginas.
Son las abandonadas,
los residuos de un tiempo de desdicha,
relatan pormenores de un combate
y al rozarlas oímos el tristísimo andar
de los presos en los penales.

**

LULLABY FOR OLD LETTERS

They give off the helpless smell of neglectfulness
and the emaciated tone of silence.
They are memory´s cast offs, residues of pain
and should be sung to in a low croon
so as not to awaken them from their lethargy.
Sometimes your hands chance upon them
and your pulse races
because we realize that words
wish to dance before us
as if they were butterflies
and tell us again the secret
sleeping inside their pages.
They are the neglected,
the remnants of unhappy times,
recounting the details of a struggle
and as we brush them we hear the saddest steps
of prisoners in jails.

**

NANA DEL HUMO

La nana del humo tiene muchos detractores,
casi nadie quiere cantarla.
Muchos dicen que el humo los ahoga,
otros piensan que eso de dormir al humo
no les da buena espina,
que tiene algo de gafe.
El humo no resulta de fiar:
en cuanto asoma su perfil oscuro
todo son malas conjeturas:
se nos está quemando el bosque,
aquella casa debe de estar ardiendo.
El humo es un extraño desperdicio,
tiene muy mala prensa.
Es un abandonado,
es un incomprendido;
casi nadie recuerda que el humo es un vocero,
un triste avisador de lo que se nos avecina.
Y por eso, cuando lo escucho vocear con impotencia
yo le canto la nana del silencio
para que no se sienta solo.

**

LULLABY FOR SMOKE

The lullaby for smoke doesn´t get many supporters,
almost nobody wants to sing its song.
Many say smoke stifles them,
others think to lull smoke to sleep
makes them queasy,
that it´s a bit of a jinx.
Smoke is not trustworthy:
as soon as it rears its dark head
it conjures up conjectures
— a forest fire,
a house burning down.
Smoke is a weird remain,
it´s got bad reports.
It´s a reject,
it´s a misunderstood thing;
almost nobody remembers smoke is a herald,
a sad forwarner of what looms over us.
That´s why, when I hear it calling out helplessly,
I sing to it the lullaby for silence
so that it doesn´t feel so lonely.

***
Translated by Amparo Arrospíde & Robin Ouzman Hislop

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Amparo Arróspide (Argentina) has published five poetry collections: Presencia en el Misterio, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar and En el oído del viento, as well as poems, short stories and articles on literature and films in anthologies and international magazines. She has translated authors such as Francisca Aguirre, Javier Díaz Gil, Luis Fores and José Antonio Pamies into English, together with Robin Ouzman Hislop, who she worked with for a period as co-editor of Poetry Life and Times, at Artvilla.com a Webzine. Her translations into Spanish of Margaret Atwood (Morning in the Burned House), James Stephens (Irish Fairy Tales) and Mia Couto (Vinte e Zinco) are in the course of being published, as well as her two poetry collections Hormigas en diáspora and Jacuzzi. She takes part in festivals, recently Transforming with Poetry (Leeds) and Centro de Poesía José Hierro (Getafe).

robin-portrait-july-sotillo-2016-by-amparo

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Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times ; at Artvilla.com his publications include

All the Babble of the Souk Cartoon MoleculesNext Arrivals, Collected Poems, and the recently published Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems, as well as translation of Guadalupe Grande´s La llave de niebla, as Key of Mist and the recently published Tesserae , a translation of Carmen Crespo´s Teselas.

You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Circuitry. An Excerpt from Cartoon Molecules Collected Poems by Robin Ouzman Hislop

      Author’s remark: edited text extracts for Circuitry are derived from Super Intelligence Chapter 9 The Controle Problem Nick Bostrom & Paul Mudoon’s Poem Side Project & based on the thematics in Impressions of Africa by Raymond Rousell

    Circuitry 

    The notion that information being about
    a certain topic is problematic
    the equivalent to a smiley-face sticker xeroxed
    trillions upon trillions of times
    and plastered over the galaxies any piece of information
    can in principle be relevant to any topic whatsoever
    depending
    on the background information of the reasoner

    ~ ~ ~

    a unicorn
    may graze in the dunes
    in all their vagaries and never
    quite grasp the point
    a given datum set contains information
    not only from the domain from which it was collected

    even orange and lemon moving in their own sphere
    who hasn’t woken up screaming in a four poster elephant herd
    but also from various circumstantial facts
    such that
    one might infer from a nominal knowledge base
    a variety of a wide range of topics

    ~ ~ ~

    that same Hungarian dance music by Brahms
    on the Orient Express
    at least everyone in the circus crowd
    accepts he’s no more than part
    of the rank and file
    where the fact that some information is included
    whilst some information is not

    i spotted the Norwegian bareback artiste
    with one foot on the unicorn sire
    in a figure eight of the elephant folio
    could tell about a fabrication that conceived
    any knowledge based designation
    like your run of the mill Fegee Mermaid
    or Pickled Punk malformed in his formaldehyde
    as the workings of its own psyche

    ~ ~ ~

    it’s that same Hungarian tune played
    on a cornet from a unicorn
    that once grazed the dunes in all their vagaries
    the design choices reflected in its own source code
    and no less proven in battle
    the Missing Link Frog boy
    the human chimera and the human alligator
    the characteristics of its circuitry
    which also allows us to remake ourselves

    ~ ~ ~

    that same Hungarian dance music by Brahms
    allows us to remake ourselves
    as information not only from the domain
    a unicorn may graze in the dunes
    on the background information of times
    plastered over the galaxies on the Orient Express

    a bareback artiste with one foot
    on any piece of information
    which in principle once grazed the dunes
    in all their circumstantial facts relevant to
    any topic whatsoever

    it’s that same Hungarian tune played in battle
    the Missing Link Frog boy four poster elephant herd
    but also Mermaid or Pickled Punk
    malformed in all their vagaries
    and never quite a variety of a wide range of topics

    ~ ~ ~

    he’s no more than part of certain topic is problematic
    the equivalent to the rank and file
    where the fact infers from a nominal knowledge base
    a characteristic of its circuitry
    also on a cornet from a unicorn
    the notion that information being about
    an information is an information

    ~~~

    i spotted the Norwegian and lemon moving
    in their own sphere a unicorn sire
    in a figure eight of fabrication
    that conceived any knowledge based designation
    its own source code and no less proven
    a smiley – face sticker xeroxed
    trillions upon trillions
    the elephant folio could tell about
    your run of the mill Fegee
    a given datum set formaldehyde
    as the workings of its own
    human chimera and human alligator vagaries
    the design choices reflected in that information is included
    whilst some from which it was collected even orange
    at least everyone in the circus crowd

    ~~~

    i spotted the Norwegian and elephant herd but also Mermaid
    or depending on various circumstantial facts
    such that one be relevant to any topic
    whatsoever vagaries such as the Orient Express

    vagaries

    the design choices reflected in its about
    an information
    an information plastered over the galaxies
    plastered over the facts
    inferred from a nominal knowledge from which it was collected
    that same Hungarian dance music by Brahms
    whilst some tell about your run of smiley- face sticker
    xeroxed trillions upon trillions
    that allows us to remake ourselves
    as Frog in the circus crowd

    in the circus unicorn the notion that information being
    a psyche screaming in a psyche
    it’s that same Hungarian tune played in battle
    the human alligator vagaries
    a unicorn may graze in the dunes
    sire in a figure eight a fabrication of malformed Pickled Punk
    in his all a background information of the reasoner

    ~ ~ ~

    lemon & Orange on the Orient Express moving in their own sphere
    Fegee grasps the point a Missing Link Frog boy four poster
    who hasn’t woken up screaming conceived in that knowledge
    based designation of their own vagaries
    a never quite variety of which is also on a cornet from the galaxies

    ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

     galaxies 	   bareback artiste with one foot on topics     no more than given
    datum set as the workings contain information not only from the domain
    elephant folio characteristic of its circuitry the wide range of topics the human
    chimera equivalent to the rank and file any piece of information can source a
    code no less proven

     
     
     
     
     

     
     
    Robin Ouzman Hislop is on line Editor at Poetry Life & Times at Artvilla.com. His numerous appearances include Cold Mountain Review (Appalachian University, N.Carolina), The Honest Ulsterman, Cratera No 3 and Aquillrelle’s Best. His publications are collected poems All the Babble of the Souk, Cartoon Molecules, Next Arrivals & Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems and translations from Spanish of poems by Guadalupe Grande Key of Mist and Carmen Crespo Tesserae (the award winning XIII Premio César Simón De Poesía). In November 2017 these works were presented in a live performance at The International Writer’s Conference hosted by the University of Leeds, UK. A forthcoming publication of collected poems Off the Menu is expected in 2020.
     
     
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    Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com . You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his
    work Performance (University of Leeds)

Africa North Poem Excerpt from All the Babble of the Souk & Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems

 

 
Solstice winds, rain return in spells
a moon waxes full, dogs howl as well.

All the babble of the Souk
men over there, over there women.

All the life of the planet
so little part of it that i breathe.

Weather beaten highlands, once passed through.

The river bed, no more like a parched bone
its late autumnal river meanders as a vein

past four reservoirs

a quest that will end in winter´s flood.

Between them are momentary mists
where brightly clad figures of the north, suddenly dim.

On the frontier’s beach taxis come, go
only the stranded remain, together with the seagulls
four men huddled, drenched in pouring rain
dead once more, again, all pathways home
washed away, again.

A broken song
remember me, sung in a doorway
brings the world at large together
as suddenly as it narrows.

Water runs on marble
nakedness revealed, nakedness concealed
form water words, water memories, mists, fates.

Veins wrestle the marble into mangled knots
blemished pearls on an implacable skin
shards leaving fragmentary traces
empty spaces awaiting faces.

Lights dance in the night, picturesque
“casas blancas del pueblo”
appear through the darkness
as the brush strokes of my mind steal the action of the shadow.

Mists cordon the mountain tops
guerdoned crowns like wreathes.
Ancient fields’ still colours surrounded
by burgeoning new lead to the valley below.

Old women, old as aglow, so slow they go
poised aloof in an untouchable world, trapped.

High in kiln firelight they cowl night’s shade
to oversee goats on the hill beneath.

Daughters of necessity naked in the rock
unleashed in white trefoil in the marsh
swamp of night rain, stark where epochs
sleep in their shadows

replication of memories, where the old
becomes the new, a world splits in two
with Morpheus in the breach.

Beyond control, beyond reach the erratic butterfly
flits bloom to bloom, the intrepid stalker with net
both captured in the mimic mould.

A knot is tied, a knot that wrestles
embraces, that ravels birth
unravels death & binds its existence.

Her face is as if a moon glazed over
with a less serene ceramic dust that in the end
after its perplexity contains its surety.

She draws her forefinger laterally across
under her eye lid in a smear
nor can you change the image of what you are
in the pupil of her eye.

Babble bodies blur
voices with their echoes down the street
sky high, prices fly

a bird song breaks, a splash charade.

Faces in the rain thin
weakness of watery years.

A winnowing canvass tosses corn
as fireflies in the blazing day.

The hag in her rags begs her bag
holding all shadows to account.

You sit in the solitary corner
at the empty dice board
to throw, as the music swells, as strings play.

On the washing line clothes of all shapes
sizes are waiting to be filled
suspended between earth, sky, where white sheets blow.

A twinge of nostalgia flashes
a link between a fluttering curtain
an open window frame, a sun shadow game

a flickering apparition pattern leaving only – strands.

A breeze flutters an open foolscap on the table
as though a phantom reader
should flick with regard through a score of notes
then stops at the first blank white sheets

stays, the moving hand that wrote, wrote no more.

On record, old honky-tonk goes on
amidst the heaps of consumer city sneakers
in the same dust where faces
turn from their spring red lustre to a sun soiled wear

through a beehive of alleys
names, aye to fetch them home again
as if where the countless dead resided, you’d said

in a market of women shrouded in shawls.

Berlin falls, Baghdad falls
all the years turn to further tears
further fears to merge with your voyage
the shape of dreams to come

to be only endearments of what has gone before.

A flower opens after a thousand years in a shell of tears
indifferent to its beholders’ sight
who paint it with the colours from the waters of their night

on an unknown shore, to whose sight it opened once before.

Children’s faces like radiant imps
play carefree in the streets below
overhead on red tiles, fat pigeons bicker, coo.

In an internet cafe, an Arab girl discrete in headdress
plays with cartoon molecules of Mickey Mouse
Koala bear

nubile women’s faces dream of nudity in their shrouds.

Wonky pinz nez specs, jumble sale clothes
bad teeth, unshaven grin
looking a faded duplicate of a down
out James Joyce with the come on
are you Irish, he asks
perhaps he was once upon a time.

They came through the cleft of the mountain
– where the river ran
to swim as a blur in the naked purple of the eye

on the mountain face there is a scar
once a sacred place, now extinct, as they are.

Yet wild still she runs, amidst the sheep, goats
toils at the hearth, dutifully bears children
yesterday she knows but not tomorrow
where she hides her sorrow

even as he ploughs the hillside
a photo will steal his soul, but his beasts will do.

Twilight’s girls, girls, girls
throng the bustling street corners eating caracoles.

By day the olive tree green in the blue sky of the window
seems almost immortal enriched with the blood
it’s enriched, now at its roots.

Costa de la playa, white beehives in the sun, all money, no honey.

In the broken lights of the bazaar
the dusky eyes of the beggar sunk in their sockets
maze in crooked cul de sacs embargo amidst
the furls of silk that foil the flickering lantern niche.

In the gloaming a solitary reaper reaps its shadow.

Streets packs ravage carcasses
at dawn, the city wakes to the city’s obedience
to obey its disappearing shadows.

A ghost city of watchers
watched as shadows by a memory that has outlived them
now fragments in an admixture of old, new

– amidst a junk yard of rubble
watcher shadows phased captive to their fading stories.

The street’s mechanics of the day
obey their limits, patterns of parts
where we end only to start in a series of nows

post mortem of the world at large
an autopsy of ghosts on the slab.

Born to see, in the boutiques people seem
like their own mannequins
existence is a mystery with no purpose

only we endow it with a destiny, it does not seek from us.

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is on line Editor at Poetry Life & Times at Artvilla.com. His numerous appearances include Cold Mountain Review (Appalachian University, N.Carolina), The Honest Ulsterman, Cratera No 3 and Aquillrelle’s Best. His publications are collected poems All the Babble of the Souk, Cartoon Molecules, Next Arrivals & Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems and translations from Spanish of poems by Guadalupe Grande Key of Mist and Carmen Crespo Tesserae (the award winning XIII Premio César Simón De Poesía). In November 2017 these works were presented in a live performance at The International Writer’s Conference hosted by the University of Leeds, UK. A forthcoming publication of collected poems Off the Menu is expected in 2020.
 
 
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Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com . You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his
work Performance (University of Leeds)