Sunday, March 9, 2014

From Jose Marti: Verses of Exile: Against Rhetorical Verse

Against rhetorical and ornate verse
toward natural verse. Here is the torrent:
here is the dry stone. There is the golden one.
Bird, that upon green branches shines brightly,
like a woman adorned in emeralds—
trails of a fetid and viscous worm:
the eyes are two bubbles of muddy grime
and its brown belly, crass and polluted.
Above the tree, high above it, alone
is a star following its steel cycle;
at its feet there’s an oven, an oven
whose ardor heats the earth—flames, flames that fight
hollow as eyes and with tongues that are arms,
wise as humanity with sharp sword’s edge:
the sword of life that burn after burning
does at last triumph over the whole earth!
It leaps out from within, roars, and aborts.
Mankind begins and ends in the fire,
and in that triumph, the guilty, vile,
cowardly and defeated, like serpents,
like dogs or crocodiles their double
rows of teeth, here and there, from the shelter
of a tree, from the ground in which it grows,
from the brook where it satisfies its thirst,
from the very source that produces food,
they growl and they bark and they bite at its root,
when it can camouflage itself it will,
with one stroke of its wings it sweeps the earth
and rises burning in the atmosphere
like a dead person or a serene sun.
That is what noble poetry should be:
Just as alive as a star and a dog;
rows of teeth inside a cave on fire,
a pine tree of fragrant branches singing
 a nest laid in the flames of the moon sings
a nest inside the fiames of the moon.

(This is a translation of the original work by Jose Marti, Versos del Destierro)

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