THREE POEMS FROM MELLA Y CRIBA
Translations by Sarah Pollack
For a while now
a rook has been protesting
in the nearby oak.
peers at the tree
from the window.
Captive, she imagines
the perilous adventure.
She looks at the rook, then at me.
She doesn’t know whom I support.
For someone who doesn’t exist
we make a strange trio
in three different languages,
two silences and the noise
of the inaccessible rook.
FULL MOON, EMPTY EARTH
Impossible to reach, the whitest heel
ripples the docile tides,
soothing restless birds
as it comes and goes in the nude.
What within us responds to that
lump of light spying from above?
Perhaps a secret sea of blood
imprisoned in a provisional cell
will begin to agglutinate
and a peace of plumes will conclude,
drowned in bright white brume,
without facing what’s now behind.
On that high perch, a mystery;
below, needles in the water.
Full moon, empty earth
and a feigned tranquility. Vanquished,
the solitary steps flee
like the last beats in a drumroll.
from a house to the trees,
pausing on a bird.
A street corner, an odd-shaped nose
merge and dispel rays of light,
the dire inertias within.
Everything is the sum of parts:
I must learn which ones make up
this inscrutable thing
that advances or recedes
through this foreign city that’s embraced me
into its intangible mysteries:
distances that still don’t add up and tattoos,
scant whispers, fits of madness,
falling on random ears,
something vague replacing souls.
An intimate enclave
aches from the monster’s footprint
on the path that no one intends to follow
but I have long suspected.
That chimera of lucidity is faint consolation
for a blind itinerary.
Ida Vitale es a prolific poet . She played an important role in the Uruguayan art movement known as the ‘Generation of 45’. Vitale fled to Mexico City in 1973 for political asylum after the military junta took power. She currently resides in Austin, Texas. Vitale is the last surviving member of the Generation of 45.