Salvador Espriu
LA IL·LUSTRACIÓ POÈTICA METROPOLITANA & CONTINENTAL
Plurilingual Anthology of Catalan Poetry
English

 
Salvador Espriu
(Santa Coloma de Farners, 1913 Ė Barcelona, 1985)


WHAT A LITTLE HOMELAND...
WITH NEITHER NAME NOR SYMBOL...
MY EYES CAN ONLY...
GLASS, MEMORY...
AH, THE BLACK BOAT...
BY THE SEA. I HAD...
I FIGHT NO MORE...
DREAM, MEANING, STURDY...
STRANGE APPEARANCES IN MY MIRROR, IF YOU WISH

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II



What a little homeland
surrounds the graveyard!
This sea, Sinera,
hills with pines and vineyards,
dusty lanes. Thatís all
I love, that and the drifting
shadow of a cloud.
The slow memory of days
gone by forever.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

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III

 

With neither name nor symbol,
beside the cypresses, beneath
a bit of sandy dust
hardened by the rain.
Or may the wind scatter
the ashes among boats
and stenciled furrows
and sunlight in Sinera.
Light in April, in the homeiand
that dies with me while I watch
the years go by: a voyage
through slow twilights.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

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IV



My eyes can only
gaze at lost suns,
lost days. How I hear
old carts rattle
down lanes in Sinera!
The smells of a sea
that bright summers watch over
come to mind. The rose
that I picked lives on
in my fingers. And on my lips,
wind, fire, words
that are ashes now.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

Ě


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

XIV



Glass, memory,
murmur of a fountain, of clear
voices that are gone.
I gaze at the long afternoon
with pauses of dream and gold.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

Ě


 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

XVII



Ah, the black boat,
watching for me
from the lofty night!

Ah, the black boat,
coming for my dream
of Sineraís sea!

The ladyís voice,
far away from time. I hear
the marble song.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

Ě


 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

XXV



By the sea. I had
a house, my dream,
by the sea.

High prow. On free
waterways, the graceful
boat that I commanded.

My eyes used to know
all the peace and order
of a little homeland.

How I need to tell
you about the frightening
rain on the windows!
Today a dark night
falls on my house.

The black rocks
lure me to destruction.
Captive of the canticle,
my struggle useless,
who can guide me to the dawn?

Beside the sea I had
a house, a slow dream.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

Ě


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

XXVI



I fight no more. I leave you
this far-flung grave,
once our fatherís land,
dream, meaning. I die,
because I donít know how to live.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

Ě


 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

XXVII



Dream, meaning, sturdy
boats in the wind, difficult
word I still can say
between the vineyardís
and the seaís old boundaries. I donít
fight against the struggle to live
because I donít know how. White walls
go round me, a good,
lofty peace among trees,
beneath dust and shade.
 



Translated by James Eddy
Salvador ESPRIU, Sinera Cemetery, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988.

Ě










 
 

STRANGE APPEARANCES IN MY MIRROR, IF YOU WISH
 

When I saw myself in my final mirror,
entire and ill and perhaps at the end,
pale and perhaps condemned,
I began slowly speaking some clear words,
beautiful, breakable, the most noble
I found within the darkness of my memory.
And yet, as always, from their crevices,
viscous, fat, smooth reptiles approached
my lips to worry the words at the moment of speech:
canít you hear the deep sound, still,
of parchment, broken bones and glass?
And in the mirror, on entering, was reflected
little by little a most perverse image,
whose meaning you can manage to understand,
if you make, like me, the strange experiment
of searching your deep self, this hour or that,
and striving all the while to make with words
what canít be made or if made would be useless.
 



Translated by Pearse Hutchinson
Versions de poesia catalana, Barcelona, 1962.

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