Wednesday August 16, 2017

2016: Going Out with Poetry

Ending a tumultuous year on a note of grace and generosity

Tomás Sánchez, Orilla (Shore), 1993

Courtesy The Farber Collection

Cuban Art News readers may recognize the name of poet and playwright Félix Lizárraga, whose recent book, Fuga del bosque (The Fugitive Forest), was featured in our fall Bookshelf column.

Feeling the need for some poetry to finish out the year—this year especially—we asked Félix to select and translate a few poems from Fuga del bosque.

Not only did he respond, he generously added a previously unpublished poem, Ellas dan de comer a las gaviotas (They Come to Feed the Seagulls), perfectly suited to the new year.

Wishing a positive and productive 2017 for us all.

 

THE FUGITIVE FOREST

For José Ortega y Gasset

 

Numerous, the trees hide from us the forest,

The fugitive forest, which flees from our eyes

As a water nymph that merges with the ripples

Of the stream, laughing her crystal laughter.

If we ever reach the forest, we may find grazing there

Among roses and brambles, that prodigious beast

We call the unicorn – alicorne, for its horn; licorne, for its wildness —

Mythological, lithe. Or we may perchance open the eyes

Of the Beauty that sleeps beyond a wall of thorns.

Going forward, I find only trees and a caterpillar;

It’s just the paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles.

Equidistant I live from unicorns and sprites.

I’ll never rescue Beauty from her enchanted sleep.

We’ll never enter you, swift-footed, fleeting forest.

 

 

María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Estudio para Elevata (Study for Elevata), 2002

Courtesy The Farber Collection

 

THEY COME TO FEED THE SEAGULLS

 

                                                For Nenita and Aida, this is their poem

 

It is now the first dawn of the new year:

They come to feed the seagulls.

Whirlwinds of feathers, and the sand,

And the fugacious, everlasting foam,

The hands that break the loaves,

That multiply and crumble and dispense them.

They come, the both of them, early in the morning

Rise from their bed and come, so early still

That it feels as if they are still adream.

(One of them drives the car, while the other rests

Her head on the other’s shoulder, in a daze.)

And the stillness of daybreak welcomes them,

And all the seagulls keen their wails so weird,

And they all share the bread, the sand, the wind,

The magic of the morning intimate.

And then the feast is done. They go back home.

(One of them drives the car, while the other rests

Her head on the other’s shoulder, in a daze.)

For the first coffee of the new year awaits,

And all the simple, sweet, everyday chores

Of kith and kin and happiness.

 

 

Esterio Segura, Colibri libando de la memoria (Hummingbirds Sucking Memory), 1996

Courtesy The Farber Collection

 

SAINT SEBASTIAN

 

Sweet as a maiden’s face, his face is falling

Over the vastness of his warrior’s chest;

His grace remains intact upon his last

Moment of soft abandon to the dart.

A whole legion of arrows tears his flesh

Sacred as bread is sacred, and he submits

His whole being to the harsh iron gale

As the heavens submit to each and every star.

Death burrows into him, but he does not complain;

Instead, a smile plays upon the corners

Of that most perfect of jewels, his mouth.

Death burrows into him, but cannot touch him

Even as his brow surrenders, like a lily:

He the true arrow is; the martyrdom is ours.

 

 

Roberto Fabelo, Ángel domestico (Domestic Angel), 2008

Courtesy The Farber Collection

 

THE ROSE PALACE

For Mariano Brull

 

Dormant lingers the Rose inside the rose,

Beauty free from the prison of beauty,

In the mysterious chalice of her calyx.

Whosoever tears down petal after petal

A rose, that living castle,

Storming her towers in surprise assault,

Leaving nothing standing, and without giving ground

Before the dense fog of her perfume: Once he peeps

Beyond her form and peeps beyond her scent,

Beyond the pastel splendor of her colors,

He will find that the Rose without the rose

Will have vanished. And thus her glory

Will only blossom in the fields of memory.

 

Courtesy Miami Book Fair

Fuga del bosque by Félix Lizárraga (Término Editorial, 2015) is available (in Spanish) on Amazon and other booksellers. For more about the artworks, see the Farber Collection website.

Félix Lizárraga is a Cuban author. He has published the science-fiction novel Beatrice (David Award, 1981), and the poetry books Busca del Unicornio (La Puerta de Papel, 1991), A la manera de Arcimboldo (Editions Deleatur, 1999), Los panes y los peces (Colección Strumento, 2001). and Fuga del bosque (CreativeSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015). His poems, stories, and essays have been featured in several magazines and anthologies, including Nuevos narradores cubanos (Siruela, 2000), and Island of My Hunger (City Lights Books, 2007). Prometeo Theater Group of Miami has staged his plays Farsa maravillosa del Gato con Botas and Matías y el aviador. He has lived in the United States since 1994.