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...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A poem by Elisabete Tolaretxipi

Summer is gone and today we have a little zirimiri, the usual drizzle at Donostia - San Sebastian: the one that arrives with the Fall to gently push people into the movie theatre. Cinema festival time for those fortunate enough.

But we can instantly bring the summer back with this poem by Eli Tolaretxipi, one of the most international poets writing in the Basque Country today. It photographically describes from within, as it were, the passing of time in a summer day reading by the seaside.

First published in Spanish in Edgar (Trea, 2013), it has been translated from the Spanish by the author and it appears here by cortesy of the poetry magazine Wasafiri (Vol. 30, No. 3, September 2015, p. 58).


A twig sunk into the sand
like a sun dial.
An hour passes.
Then another.
I’m not so afraid.
The pit of my stomach
is the mouth of the sea.
I open my mouth. I breathe. I swallow.
Shingles move,
rub together.
At the beginning pleasure is like stone,
solid, dry, rough,
more and more porous; then like a plant,
like the ceiling, entwined with branches, hemp.
I become an axis spinning
a tense wire, the centre
of the star at the hub of the fan.
I imagine the foam
the salty cloud around us
mixing up with other smells.
Scars lighten up.
A shade descends upon the book.
Adjectives like ‘clean’ and ‘refined’
could be used to describe this bolt
at the pit of the stomach and the echo of the first beat.

Picture © Morella Munoz-Tebar, 2014

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