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News and comments and events relating to Granada, 'the city where anything is possible, Granada, 'la bella y la bestia, and Federico Garcia Lorca's complicated love-hate relationship with the city, etc

Darío Jaramillo’s cat poems

poetry Posted on Wed, April 24, 2019 21:07:17

In a reading of Darío Jaramillo’s poetry at the Lorca Centre on Tuesday,
Rafael Espejo (local poet) chose poems completely at random, he said, and in accordance with
his own preferences and based on his familiarity with the Colombian’s body of

I noticed he chose six poems about cats and later I saw that Jaramillo –
like TS Elliot (Old Possum’s Book of
Practical Cats
) – has published a book of cat poems. He (Espejo) started
with this one:

Estados de
la materia.
Los estados de la materia son cuatro:
líquido, sólido, gaseoso y gato.
El gato es un estado especial de la materia,
si bien caben las dudas:
¿es materia esta voluptuosa contorsión?
¿no viene del cielo esta manera de dormir?
Y este silencio, ¿acaso no procede de un lugar sin tiempo?
Cuando el espíritu juega a ser materia
entonces se convierte en gato.

Aletargados en perpetua siesta
después de inconfesables andanzas nocturas,
desentendidos o alertas,
los gatos están en casa para ser consentidos,
para dejarse amar indiferentes.
Dios hizo los gatos para que hombres y mujeres aprendan a estar solos.

From DARÍO JARAMILLO AGUDELO, Gatos , Editorial Pre-Textos, Colección
“El pájaro solitario”. Valencia, 2009

This is how I’ve translated it:

States of matter.
Matter can exist in four states:
liquid, solid, gas and cat.
The cat is a special state of matter,
even if there is some room for doubt:
is it matter, that voluptuous contortion?
is it not from heaven, that way of sleeping?
And that silence, does it not perhaps come from a place without time?
When the spiritual plays at being material,
that’s when it becomes cat.

Lethargic in their perpetual siesta
after clandestine night wanderings,
whether oblivious or alert,
cats are at home to be spoiled,
to let themselves be loved unconditionally.
God created cats so men and women would learn to live alone.

¡Uy, uy, uy,
uy, uy, mi gato, …

Verdad es

poetry Posted on Sun, January 19, 2014 13:40:27

Gelman gave this previously unpublished and hand-written poem to Joaquín Sabina
when he was in Mexico last autumn. And I’ve tried to translate it.

Verdad es


acerco más a mi esqueleto.

está asomando con razón.

metí en buenas y en feas sin preguntarle nada,

siempre preguntándome, sin ver

era la dicha o la desdicha,

quejarse, sin

efímeras de mí.

que otea casi

aire alrededor,

pensará la clavícula rota,

espléndida, rodillas

arrastré sobre piedras

perdones falsos, etcétera.

saqueado, pronto

estorbará tu vista ninguna veleidad.

el universo desnudo.

The truth is


me closer to my skeleton.

appearing is no surprise.

I took him
for what he was, asking nothing of him,

always asking me, with no consideration

fortune or misfortune,

complaining, with no

distances between us.

that the air around

watches from above,

will the broken collar bone think,

jewel, knees

I scraped on stones

false forgive-me’s, etcetera.

skeleton, soon

will be nothing to spoil your view.

will face the universe naked.


Condesa DF

28 October 2013

Eduardo Lizalde – Lorca Prize 2013

poetry Posted on Mon, October 14, 2013 19:41:45


La regla es ésta:
dar lo absolutamente imprescindible,
obtener lo más,
nunca bajar la guardia,
meter el jab a tiempo,
no ceder,
y no pelear en corto,
no entregarse en ninguna circunstancia
ni cambiar golpes con la ceja herida;
jamás decir “te amo”, en serio,
al contrincante.
Es el mejor camino
para ser eternamente desgraciado
y triunfador
sin riesgos aparentes.


The rule is this:
give just what is absolutely necessary,
get the most in return,
never let your guard down,
get your jab in first,
don’t give in,
fight hard,
and don’t give yourself away under any
or continue exchanging blows with an injured brow;
never say “I love you” and mean it
to your opponent.
It is the best way
to be eternally wretched
and victorious
with no apparent risks.

[I did the translation.]


poetry Posted on Mon, February 18, 2013 00:10:14

We all have
a voice. To raise.

But their
buttoned-down lie

Will not be

the sensual

of the
military man

says how it
will be;

as the lie
of Authority

prescribe how we live and die;

each fresh

has been

ordained by
a hierarchy of hate;

and anger
allows no choice

to the
soldier or the mob:

we must
kill one another, then die.

under the night’s comfortless veil

low-born scan the sky

for a
tell-tale trail of fire.

Sober dots
of light

flash out
where the unruly meet,

gestures of hope

and burning

As if I was
one of them,

in the same flare

of despair
and disgust,

unable to
mourn more dead,

I shed off
my uniform of indifference

and move
with the millions

against, beyond

our uncivil

After W.H.
Auden: September 1, 1939.

Poemas inéditos de Tomás Segovia

poetry Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 01:53:07

A veces pienso desoladamente

Que es en la vida misma

Es en su limpia página

Donde se me derrama el borrón de la muerte

Pero miro allá abajo

Donde luce el frescor recién vertido

En el cuenco frugal de la mañana

A los perros nerviosamente alegres

Que en mi lugar y en nombre mío

Retozan entre sí

Tan exhibicionistamente vivos

Y sé que hay todavía cosas

Que hay que aprender a poner en su sitio.

– Dated 21 Sep 08

Lo único que siempre he sabido hacer bien

No es hacer

Es no mover un músculo

Dejar quieta la lengua

Cuidarme mucho de no ir a hacer ruido

De que no se me escape un gongorismo

Quedarme inmóvil para no estorbar

Y dejar que se vaya hinchando

Enriqueciendo impacientando

Algo que sin remedio va a decirse

Y que revienta al fin trayendo entre nosotros

Con emoción pero sin susto

Y por supuesto silenciosamente

Una innegable detonación de luz.

– Dated 21 Sep 08

Lo que quisiera yo es subirme a las ramas

Y sin que lo notaran

Meterme entre las hojas más menudas

Para espiar lo que se están diciendo

Entre sí tan en secreto

Y llevármelo a casa en la memoria

Para decírmelo a mí mismo luego

Con picardía pero sin malicia.

– Dated 21 Sep 08

A lo lejos la noche masculla su tormenta

Esa pululación de tenues fogonazos

Y ese apagado desgranar de truenos

Visiblemente traman alcanzarnos

La tormenta galopa hacia nosotros

Con lentitud de sueño

Y tal vez se desmaye antes de haber llegado

Pero cómo negar si nos alcanza

Que mientras dura su impulsivo abrazo

Es también ella una gran casa

En la que caben nuestras casas.

– Dated Night of the 21-22 sep 08

Poems by Tomás Segovia – my translations

poetry Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 01:25:38

At times I think desolately

That it is on life itself

On its clean page

that the blot of death is spilt

But I look down there

at the recently tipped freshness

resplendent in the frugal morning bowl

For the nervously cheerful dogs

Which in my stead and in my name

Frolic about

So exhibitionistically alive

And I know there are still things

That I have to learn how to put in their place.


The only thing that I’ve always known how to do well

Is not to do

Is not to move a muscle

Let the tongue be still

Take great care not to go and make a noise

From which a gongorismo might slip out

Remain motionless so as not to get in the way

And let something which is inevitably going to be said

Swell up growing richer and more impatient

And in the end burst bringing forth

Excitingly but not frighteningly

And of course silently

An undeniable explosion of light.


What I would like to do is climb up to the branches

And without anyone noticing

Get in among the smallest leaves

To eavesdrop on what they are saying

Among themselves so secretly

And take it home with me in my memory

To say it to myself then

With mischievous but not malicious intent.


In the distance the night mutters its storm

That proliferation of faint flashes

And that muffled threshing of thunder

Are visibly plotting to reach us

The storm gallops towards us

In dreamlike slow motion

And perhaps it loses heart before arriving

But who can deny that if it reaches us

That while its impulsive embrace lasts

It is itself a great house

With room for all our houses.



poetry Posted on Sun, November 07, 2010 20:24:33

70 years after the event, and in time for his centenary on 30 October this year, the Spanish Government have ruled that socialist poet Miguel Hernandez’ death sentence, issued by a military court in the first year of Franco’s forty-year dictatorship, was unjust. Wow! What insight! And ‘only’ 30-odd years after establishing democracy in modern post-Franco Spain. The Government has duly offered an official apology to his family and its belated recognition of his innocence.

In January 1940 Hernandez was charged with being a traitor to the regime (Franco’s) and a poet of the people. Hernandez certainly was not innocent of either of these charges. Indeed, in his declaration to the court, he proudly admitted that he was an antifascist poet who wrote to serve the people of Spain, calling on them defiantly to resist Franco’s nationalist uprising.

Hernandez, born 1910, left school at 14 and worked as a shepherd before realising his vocation as a poet. It was his closeness to the beauty of the natural world that soon inspired him to start writing poetry. His instinctive solidarity with the oppressed was radicalised during the period of the Republic in the 1930s and on the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War he joined the Republican Army to fight against Franco’s rebellion on several Fronts, finding, nevertheless, some time to dedicate himself to cultural-political issues as a creative writer. ‘While other poets wrote without conviction and paraded their left politics through Madrid in their carefully-ironed boiler suits, Hernandez was the only one who fought and wrote on the battlefield.’ This was the harsh but fair judgement of Juan Ramón Jiménez, alter ego and father figure of the brilliant contemporary generation of Spanish poets.

At the time of his trial, unsuccessful attempts were made to get Hernandez to renounce his political ideas in exchange for his life and make a public confession that he had been led astray by ‘the enemies of Spain’. Then, prompted no doubt by the international repercussions that had followed the disappearing of the more widely acclaimed Republican poet Garcia Lorca some years before, Franco commuted Hernandez’ death sentence to 30 years in prison. The regime did not want another martyr. But the condemned poet held out for little more than two years of his prison spell before succumbing to the effects of an untreated lung infection in March 1942.