Four Poems

Francisco "Paco" Urondo

Large, Calm Eyes

Going forth, the mud comes up to our hips, calming
some uncertainties, giving rise to others. We move
around new pools.

No one returns; now is the moment for love. Desire
is a smooth-spreading wave, on shore, with a firm hand,
behind the reeds, before the sun.

The wild birds will take flight, the islands will defeat words:
sacred silence over the earth.

Then we will go towards the fire.

I Cannot Complain

I am left with only a few friends and those here
are usually far and I am left
an aftertaste I keep within close reach
as if a firearm. I will use it for noble things:
for defeating the enemy—God
willing—, for speaking modestly
about threatening possibilities.

I hope bitterness won't intercept
forgiveness, that distant wind
of affections I am trying to describe: I hope the rigor of this
will not convert into the thick glass
of the dead, though I am curious to know the things
they'll have to say of me, after my death:
to know which were your versions of love,
of those tangential meetings,
because my friends tend to be signals
of my life, by tragic luck, giving me all
that isn't here. Prematurely, with one foot
on each lip of the crevice that opens
before me, at the feet of glory, I salute you all,
hold my nose and let the abyss surround me.

Days Come and Gone

I have heard the winter sun. It grows casting layers, tightly around its heart; it shakes its sleep, unfurls the feather coat it wears: looks on as shapes of its idols fall one by one away.

The warmth won't destroy it fully, the cold won't break the dream. It is wounded, though, by time that contains it, by cruelty, decision, by great docks in wait, eternal beginnings, measured goodbyes.

The Tree of Life

A washbowl has shown me
the face of my future. There are no complications
or demons past my exhaustion, no consular
officials, no tenderness that rises, not even
as steam, over the lit horizon.

I stare down at the sink, at the bowl's walls,
at my face. That look
I cannot find, the acacia I cannot smell—oh,
my children, how could I think I would not be affected,
how could I have detested lament.

But complaint and battle sound at the same bell,
especially when we examine time
from right to left, from inside it
facing backwards, by the lifting patterns
of those ambiguous airs, those crossed lights
of the sin of Alexandria.

translated from the Spanish by Julia Leverone