Francesc Parcerisas
LA IL·LUSTRACIÓ POÈTICA METROPOLITANA & CONTINENTAL
Plurilingual Anthology of Catalan Poetry
English

 
Francesc Parcerisas
(Begues, 1944)


DOGS
THE HAND OF VIRGIL
PORTRAIT OF THE POET

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DOGS



Look at them: a pack of mangy dogs
in the habit of trespassing, of kneading flowerbeds.
Cold, brazen, nothing ever keeps them at bay
—not even this group of poets attempting, in the same vein,
to make sense out of life’s shame.
Crippled, blind, with welts from blood ticks,
they still sniff with muffled fury
at the aged she-dog that inhabits this yard.
And yet what annoys us links us to them:
shameless, faithful, degraded, animals
that, like us, lay frantic or faltering siege
to love’s madness: a supreme power
that in undoing them will bring redemption.
 



Translated by D. Sam Abrams
Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988

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THE HAND OF VIRGIL



The battle is slow and devious,
a temporal fire on the hilltops.
The spears and darts of the enemy
have decimated so slowly
the parents who protected us that,
almost without realizing it,
we find ourselves, silent, wide open,
hard by the fires on the battle front.
Thus far the hand of Virgil.
Hereafter the world will be different:
we are on our own to quell the fire.
Without a guide, borne along
by the secret promptings of a sense for good,
we will perhaps come to see that the walls
of the fortress, the enemy, war itself
are merely the shadows, grown enormous,
of a blaze that is light and embers.
Purgatory and paradise we bear within.
 


Translated by D. Sam Abrams
Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988

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PORTRAIT OF THE POET

 
The wind howls, the water is frozen thick
in the pipes, it is snowing.
For hours it has been dark
and icicles taper downwards
from the eaves.
Ah, how good it is to close your book,
snuff out the candle that flickers on the table
and, in the light afforded by the fireplace,
curl up in bed, without making a sound,
not to awaken this youthful body
that lies, in all its purity, fast asleep.
Now, buried under the blankets, close
your eyes and in your mind re-enact this day
not so different from all others.
Savor this tiny moment of enjoyment
that makes everything worthwhile, as you lay your hand
upon this sighing breast, deep in sleep,
its face lost among the soft flowing strands of hair.
Will it be this way, death?
Welcome like this drowsiness that overtakes you,
this sensation of utter mildness, devoid of reproach and grievance,
grateful alone for the incommensurable gifts of life?
Will it be like this that on our way to darkness
we will meet with light?
 

Translated by D. Sam Abrams
Five Poets, Institute of North American Studies, Barcelona, 1988

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