Imago lacus

The picture above was taken by a dear friend, the American poet Debra Kang Dean (please do not use it without permission). I met Debra three years before, when I went to Walden to work with his late husband Brad, a great Thoreau scholar. Once we spent hours tracking this quotation: "Some men go fishing all their lives without ever realizing it's not fish they are after." We concluded that Thoreau never wrote it, but si non è vero...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Brad Dean in memoriam

The last time I spoke to Bradley P. Dean we went together to Walden woods with a BBC team from London to make some recordings. It was 2004, the 150th anniversary of the publication of Thoreaus Walden. Brad died 7 years ago and today Ive translated a poem that I wrote (in Spanish) shortly afterwards. Here it goes.


May be you just saw
his Abraham Lincoln face
in some book of mine

lost amidst biographies
Brad was his best tracker

and this elegy
so very untraditional
his own calendar

I met him in April
in the woods and the lake

close to Walden
that sacred place
where we could hear

his laughter big and blond
asking me for a cigarette

while politics
lasted as long as the smoke
of that jet plane

like a fish in the sky
pebbled with stars

Thoreau he said
that was his field
his bean field

his passion cold as Maine
and Cape Cod beaches

he talked about moose
hunting with his father
in the wilderness

("all good things
are wild and free")

and the moon
full in August when
he goes for a walk

Brad Dean
                  Henry Thoreau
I don't know who he was

my notebook today
embraces both men
at the same time

like in those TV
reality shows

those new year parties
when everyone is
all together now

a life's narrative
packed in two hours

and so they write
October leaves
the year's evening

                  the sun sets
                  the night falls.


Tal vez has visto
su cara de Abraham Lincoln
en algún libro

de todos sus biógrafos
Brad fue el mejor rastreador

y esta elegía
tan poco tradicional
su calendario

le conocí un mes de abril
entre bosques y lagos

cerca de Walden
ese lugar sagrado
donde se oía

su risa grande y rubia
al pedirme un cigarro

y la política
duraba lo que el humo
de ese reactor

como un pez en el cielo
empedrado de estrellas

fue entonces cuando
me habló de Thoreau
su huerto de judías

su fría pasión por Maine
y las playas de Cape Cod

me habló de un alce
cazando con su padre
en la espesura

("todas las cosas buenas
son libres y savajes")

y de la luna
cuando llena en agosto
sale a pasear

Brad Dean o Henry Thoreau
ya no recuerdo quién

hoy mi cuaderno
acoge a los dos hombres
y los reúne

como en Quién sabe dónde
como en Cita a ciegas

o un programa
de esos de Nochevieja
todo revuelto

el curso de una vida
resumido en dos horas

y así escriben
hojas de octubre
atardecer del año

                se oculta el sol
                cae la noche.

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