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from “Rhapsody”

XV

The time has come to say good-bye;
with farewells comes wind to the vineyard
like dark Valpolicella wine
in the hand of dark winter dyes:
parks, far stations pass by
winter platforms, by hills
that lose their color on being dyed
into crystals by thinking light;
so we head for the center, not to flight
or the abyss but the carnation of time,
of what spots us in the flaming mirror.
So clouds in their service pass by
like the Holy Procession of Phantoms
like the Pilgrimage of the Rose Bush;
not Monsalvat, not Camelot or Tripoli
but the holy Grail of our dreams.
And in all one’s life this handful,
this clump of carnations remains;
so many words only to say
this silver pilgrim cloak of love.
 
 
XVI
 
The evening hour glows
and waters on the walkway darken,
we are zigzagging on the road
like the plot unravels in Buñuel
when the wrong way contradicts
the sacred official quadrille:
so the always serpentine poem
is at the end pure magnetism
with clarity of an abandoned hotel
off season, with blind eyes
more lively its balcony fever
in the frontispiece of escritoires
that visit the fingers of the moon,
the keystrokes of lunar wind,
in Magritte’s night of accessories.
We liked it all, but in the end
we had it all; having lived
is the sweetest taste of the cherry
and seasoning of a broken night.
Bowing, the past’s watery mass
gazes at the shooting star of day,
a cannonade of weird obscurity,
the cannonade of dying love.
 
 
XVII
 
In a box of air comes a flaming curtain,
the look of Jean-Michel Frank’s art deco,
the headwaiter taster of light,
a flight of fallen dragonflies
in the slim drafts of daybreak,
in the garden hunting party
the magistrate on Ferrara’s hillock
is confounded by the evening hour,
Boldini’s sofa with nude woman
in black stockings, Casati design
and his hypnotic zoo of gold and glass.
We are yesterday’s gardeners
but also the Argonauts
who captured the golden fleece
in the cenacle of darkened divination,
like the theater in Lady from Shanghai.
Everything alive goes with me,
with you goes what you lived,
but a handful of rose eyelids
on a night of frozen numb light
is what is lived by two, rug
for a Scheherazade arcoirisada rose
in a Baghdad with laced shoes of fire
like the Paris night when Proust
in night alarm saw Grosse Bertha
turbaned in a swallow-tail mask.
On the night of pendants and festoons
we carry our offering—our whole being.
Twilight falls through the turbine
of mute oxen and teaches us
the insistence of living what day holds,
the abandonment of living love;
face to face we watch each other in filmed night,
Day for Night, the mirror’s impracticabilities,
because love is a mirroring,
is possession of body and its images,
image painters of possession,
possession of truth for both;
we are protagonists of resplendence.
 
From Rapsodia, published 2011 by Seix Barral. © Pere Gimferrer. By arrangement with Grupo Planeta. Translation © 2013 by Willis Barnstone. All rights reserved.