Translation from the Spanish


Roberto Juarroz

Vertical Poetry:
Eleventh I 3

A writing that withstands bad weather,
that can be read beneath sun or rain,
beneath howling or night,
beneath the nakedness of time.

A writing that withstands the infinite,
cracks that spread like pollen,
the reading without the pity of the gods,
the unlettered reading of the desert.

A writing that resists
bad weather always.
A writing that can be read
even in death.

(Translated from the Spanish by Mary Crow)


Jorge Teillier


The children play in tiny chairs.
The grown-ups have nothing to play with.
The grown-ups tell the children
one ought to speak in a whisper.
The grown-ups are standing up
beside the falling light of the afternoon.

The children receive from night
stories that come
like a pack of spotted calves
while the grown-ups repeat
one ought to speak in a whisper.

The children are hiding
below the winding staircase
telling their untellable stories
that are like ears of corn sunning on the rooftops
while only silence arrives for the grown-ups
empty as a wall uncrossed by shadows.

(Translated from the Spanish by Mary Crow)


Olga Orozco


It was written in shadows.
It was outlined with smoke in the middle of two colored wings,
almost an incrustation of strict mourning that cut the celebration’s     glow in two.
The frosty complaint of the glass under your feet announced it often.
Always whirling in the dark, dark personages said it
because there is no exit ever for anyone in this dizzying den of     dreams.
The grass that was harsh gloomy plumage one morning propagated     it.
Sudden cracks in the walls confirmed it day after day,
traces of carbon on stone, transparent spiders, winds.
And suddenly night spilled over,
it overflowed dangerously the closed showcases, the adjusted knots,
the hands that could hardly hold the stormy pressure.
A huge black bird fell onto your plate.
It is like the wrapping of some fire⁠ — murky, taciturn, breathless
that came from far away piercing as it passed through the intact     protection of each day.
Now you notice this shivering harvest smoking.
It arrives from the most remote plantations of your foreboding and     your fear,
it arrives exhaling mystery continually.
It is on your plate and there is no distance that separates you,
no hiding place possible.

(Translated from the Spanish by Mary Crow)