Three poems

Three poems

Rogelio Guedea

English translation by Roger Hickin

• From O me voy o te vas (unpublished)


There’s no denying it,
the days are flying by:
it’s Friday again
and I still haven’t finished with Monday
when we had liver and onions
for breakfast
at the inn of Dona Rafaela,
it seems like yesterday you told me
you were tired of being with me,
even though you love me.
Tomorrow will be Saturday
and we’ll go to eat at your mother’s place
with me more than likely feeling
that last Saturday’s meal
is still undigested.
The days pile up one on top of another
and not one after the other,
in such a way it that it seems instead of feeling
that I’m dragging them, I’m actually carrying them
on my back.
Some of this you yourself must feel with me.
The other day (when was it in fact? yesterday,
a year ago?) you told me I was becoming
a burden to you,
and I suppose it’s a bit like that
with me and my load of days,
I feel it getting heavier and heavier and it crushes me
and I understand you better now than I used to,
because I would like to get rid of that load
for ever,
as you would like to get rid of me.
All things, I realize, are connected:
the years with the months, the months with the weeks,
the weeks with the days, the difficult days of your love.


They say that memories are small clouds
that break up in the wind
or round soap bubbles a pin can pierce,
but in reality they’re steel mesh
or strong planks
or even concrete sidewalks
on which we can walk unperturbed,
because memories are solid floors that support us.
I have several (not many, but some)
and I’m saved from falling simply by recalling them.
Mostly memories of childhood, and of adolescence,
music from the past,
faces, certain streets, a few embraces, numerous afternoons,
countless showers of rain,
treasured objects,
books, poems, there to keep me
from ending up on my back
or to pick me up
when I fall flat on my face.
At home I have a few things
thanks to which I’m still here.
How would I have ended up if I hadn’t grabbed them as I fell!
They’re memories, lamellae
that overlap inside us,
there to keep us on our feet,
the way foundations hold up houses,
that’s how it is, precisely,
so too with that memory of yours
that burst into my room today
and knocked me flat.


This morning I wanted
to write a poem about our
quarrel last night
(your hair, I remember, shone in the lamplight)
but I had to get my breakfast
myself (you were still upset and refused to) and there was no time to sit down quietly
” in front of the computer,
I had to wash the dishes too
and make the bed, I even took out the garbage and still had time to season the fish
we’d be eating at my mother’s
as we do each Wednesday.
I was going to write a poem, not about what we quarreled over, clearly,
poetry’s no good for that,
but about how your hair looked when you waved your arms about as you scolded me,
how your eyes looked as you tore
strips off me,
and the memory of that trip that we took to Chihuahua,
that train we embraced in, looking through the windows at the green mountains,
and how much we’ve loved each other since then.
That’s what I wanted to write a poem about this morning, but I couldn’t,
you told me last night that if I didn’t want to die of hunger I’d better learn how
” to fry an egg.
As you got worked up you looked so beautiful
I paid no attention to what you were saying,
there was only the radiance of your hair in the the night:
drenched––as always––in eternity.


Rogelio Guedea nació en México en 1974.  Es autor de quince libros de poesía, entre los que destacan: Mientras olvido (Follas Novas, Premio Internacional de Poesía Rosalía de Castro 2001),  Razón de mundo (Instituto de Cultura de Nayarit, Premio Nacional de Poesía Amado Nervo 2004), Fragmento (Instituto Sonorense de Cultura, Premio Nacional de Poesía Sonora 2005) y Kora (Rialp Ediciones, Premio Adonáis de Poesía 2008). En 2015 recibió un Premio Fulbright por su contribución a la cultura y educación neozelandesa. Su obra ha sido traducida al inglés, francés, italiano, griego, portugués, chino y alemán. Actualmente es miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores y académico correspondiente de la Academia Mexicana de la Lengua.

Roger Hickin nació en Nueva Zelanda en 1951, es artista visual, poeta y traductor.  Ha publicado traducciones de Rogelio Guedea, Blanca Castellón, Ernesto Cardenal, Carlos Martínez Rivas, Juan Cameron y Sergio Badilla Castillo. Entre sus libros se encuentran Up that country road (2005), Waiting for the transport y  The situation and other poems (2009). Es director de Cold Hub Press.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *