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...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A poem by Koldo Izagirre-ren poema bat

A new book by Koldo Izagirre is always a commotion, but this one is quite special; it surely will make a big splash at the Durango market next December. Koldo has two outstanding features: to me he is the only living Basque poet with both a complete command of traditional form (see the rhyme and syllabics pattern in the example below) and a genius for portraying urban landscapes (Paris, Berlin, Rouen, Bilbo, Tolosa, Pasaia, San Sebastian) such as this one, based on a place and a history well recognisable by any denizen of Donostia:

PARKE BATEAN 

horra francoren zakurrak 
ez ordea belauniko 
horra francoren zakurrak 
barne beltzeko lapurrak 
jauregian atariko 

horra francoren zakurrak 
amak miaztu gabeak 
horra francoren zakurrak 
gorrotoz heze muturrak 
maite zituen jabeak 

horra francoren zakurrak 
atzapar eta letagin 
horra francoren zakurrak 
ez dira kontu apurrak 
gordin daukat zenbait samin 

horra francoren zakurrak 
esana zorrotz beteak 
horra francoren zakurrak 
tenteak eta makurrak 
makurrak eta tenteak 

horra francoren zakurrak 
bestela ikasten zaunka 
horra francoren zakurrak 
lan isileko maltzurrak 
bidezko guztien aurka 

horra francoren zakurrak 
aroen gain lizunen gain 
horra francoren zakurrak 
ez dira zakur uzkurrak 
agindu baten daude zain 

horra francoren zakurrak 
gure zantzua usnaka 
horra francoren zakurrak 
gose luzeko ñapurrak 
gibel minduok urraka 

horra francoren zakurrak 
beti lotu beti eten 
horra francoren zakurrak 
zer hotzikara samurrak 
parke batean aieten 

* * *

horra beltxarga uretan 
hezur bakearen zati 
horra beltxarga uretan 
karez apaindu lumetan 
ez dakienak zer daki 

horra beltxarga uretan 
horra edertasun hutsa 
horra beltxarga uretan 
horra ni maluretan 
francoren zakurren putza 

AT THE PARK

Behold Franco’s dogs
They’re not on their knees no
Behold Franco’s dogs
Thieves all black inside
At the palace entrance

Behold Franco’s dogs
Unlicked by their mothers
Behold Franco’s dogs
Their muzzles drool with hate
Loved by their master

Behold Franco’s dogs
Their paws and fangs
Behold Franco’s dogs
They’re not small change
I’ve got some fresh pain under

Behold Franco’s dogs
Full of sharp sayings
Behold Franco’s dogs
Upright and crooked
Crooked and upright

Behold Franco’s dogs
Learning barking or else
Behold Franco’s dogs
Silently doing their tricks
Against whoever is right

Behold Franco’s dogs
Over the seasons over the moss
Behold Franco’s dogs
They are not shy ones
They are waiting for an order

Behold Franco’s dogs
Sniffing our tracks
Behold Franco’s dogs
Very hungry sybarites
Gnawing at this liver in pain

Behold Franco’s dogs
Always tied always loose
Behold Franco’s dogs
Easy to shudder at those
In the park at Aiete

* * *

Behold the swan in the water
A peace of bone
Behold the swan in the water
Feathers pretty with quicklime
He who doesn’t know what does he know

Behold the swan in the water
Behold its empty beauty
Behold the swan in the water
Behold me in my misfortune
Franco’s dogs don't give a toss

Koldo Izagirre
Parisen bizi naiz (Susa, 2013)
Engl. transl.: ACdR. Eskerrak Elizabeth Macklin eta Angel Erro-ri

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