Posted by: ktzefr | April 17, 2013

Poets and Pics of Mexico

San Miguel de Allende; Photo:KFawcett

San Miguel de Allende; Photo:KFawcett

Though Muriel Rukeyser is an American poet, she writes eloquently about Mexico.  This image from San Miguel de Allende

“No one will ever understand that evening…

No one who has not ever seen that color

Change and travel the hills…

will ever know

The evening…filtered through cinnamon

And how the birds came down

Through the bars of yellow and the bars of green

Into the brandy dusk and the leaves of night…”

~ Muriel Rukeyser, “Evening Plaza, San Miguel”

**********

Leticia Alvarez’s image of childhood in the country in Mexico reminds me of my own childhood in Kentucky — soaring too high in a rope swing attached to a backyard tree, wearing dresses my mom made on the old Singer sewing machine, spending time outdoors with friends. 

“At Pina’s house

there was a garden with a swing

I soared too high for my age…

my dresses were made at home

by my mother and a sewing machine

our skirts flew

and I pumped harder

to clear the hedge…”

~ Leticia Herrera Alvarez (translated by Judith Infante), “Country Memory”

 

Girls of Santa Julia, San Miguel de Allende; Photo:KFawcett

Girls of Santa Julia, San Miguel de Allende; Photo:KFawcett

(Casa Hogar Santa Julia)

Aline Pettersson is a Mexican author who has published a number of children’s books.  I’m not sure why this poem is titled “Cuernavaca,” but I like the imagery and the way this universal need to be loved is expressed.

“There’s a deep murmur unravelled,

the air is a song of feather,

a soft babble of grass.

There’s a memory of heaven revived,

hum of life and a plea.

There’s this need, like a baby’s, to be loved.”

~Aline Pettersson, (translated by Judith Infante), “Cuernavaca”

 

**********

Alberto Blanco is one of Mexico’s most important poets.  In this excerpt from “The Parakeets” the reader might ask how one talks to his/her shadow or to silence.  How are we, in our separate cages, like the parakeets?

“They talk all day

and when it starts to get dark

they lower their voices

to converse with their own shadows

and with the silence…

They are like everybody,

the parakeets:

the ones that talk best

have separate cages.”

~ Alberto Blanco, “The Parakeets” (translated by W.S. Merwin)

**********

And then there is Octavio Paz who won the Nobel Prize in 1990…

 

Mural, Escuela de Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende; Photo:KFawcett

Mural, Escuela de Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende; Photo:KFawcett

 

“Listen to me as one listens to the rain,

not attentive, not distracted,

light footsteps, thin drizzle,

water that is air, air that is time,

the day is still leaving,

the night has yet to arrive,

figurations of mist

at the turn of the corner,

figurations of time

at the bend in this pause,

listen to me as one listens to the rain,

without listening, hear what I say…”

Octavio Paz, “As One Listens to the Rain”

**********

Celebrate National Poetry Month by reading your favorites, discovering new voices, and/or buying a special collection for a friend.  If you could pass along the words of only one poet, who would you choose?  

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