Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

[The sea swarms. Your shout extends]

By Claudia Becerra
Translated from Spanish by Jacqui Cornetta
The subjects of Claudia Becerra’s three poems, translated here by Jacqui Cornetta, are bounded by the shores of real and imaginary islands as they observe the arrivals and departures of others.
A dock extending into the ocean
Photo by Nikita Castro on Unsplash

3

The sea swarms. Your shout extends,
extinguishes. Your hair in the wind.
The bird that names you drifts overhead,
and your will, above all, contradicts it.
Reminds you of the ruling:
you’ll never delight in the wing’s design.
Nothing here restores you though you observe
yourself in the water. You realize that alone,
a gaze can only found.
So you keep planting images as if
every thing were a species linked
to your tiny grove of shoots and leisures.
Look out, at your rotten plenitude of seaweed,
remains of some unknowable depth,
naive deflowering, unusable patch
with which to entertain your gaze.
It’s far away. Too far to touch.
You are initiated to thirst.

 

16

You arrived just as everyone was leaving.
Come back, then, to your motivations:

I wanted sea to see.
I wanted sea to enter.
I wanted sea even just
to curse it. But the present
sea, distinct from the one of my passions,
is sea made solely
of exits, practical sea, an invitation
to stop on that shore, and look out 
at all the faces you loved
that kneaded you towards aversion,
watch them leave.

How likable the island when it isn’t
more than a door that opens outward.
And you, just getting ready
to arrive, with your foolish, passive fleet,
no place to put your things.
You, so suddenly taken
by the shore like a resolution.

 

18

You wanted to unchart feeling,
to seal it with the other side
of history, to discourage
commitments of thirst and stake
the depth of everything that disregards you
on its impossible nothingness. Yet you discover
that from one island to the next, for everything that swims
at the pace of a discrete swell,
despite what’s soft, despite what’s idle,
the back and forth dizzies. Your back turned to the kiss,
you piss away sense, Recienvenido.
You can’t visit any of your visions.
Maybe it’s just the heat of the diminished body,
poorly clung to its abandon.
Keep watch over your gaze, Recienvenido!
See how it fills with improbable
ports, with seas bitter to touch,
with shores. See your skin escaping
as in the face of a chill: know that out there
what’s present and known and to be named scatter
on islands made invisible.


From
Versión del viaje © Claudia BecerraTranslation © 2022 Jacqui Cornetta. All rights reserved.

English

3

The sea swarms. Your shout extends,
extinguishes. Your hair in the wind.
The bird that names you drifts overhead,
and your will, above all, contradicts it.
Reminds you of the ruling:
you’ll never delight in the wing’s design.
Nothing here restores you though you observe
yourself in the water. You realize that alone,
a gaze can only found.
So you keep planting images as if
every thing were a species linked
to your tiny grove of shoots and leisures.
Look out, at your rotten plenitude of seaweed,
remains of some unknowable depth,
naive deflowering, unusable patch
with which to entertain your gaze.
It’s far away. Too far to touch.
You are initiated to thirst.

 

16

You arrived just as everyone was leaving.
Come back, then, to your motivations:

I wanted sea to see.
I wanted sea to enter.
I wanted sea even just
to curse it. But the present
sea, distinct from the one of my passions,
is sea made solely
of exits, practical sea, an invitation
to stop on that shore, and look out 
at all the faces you loved
that kneaded you towards aversion,
watch them leave.

How likable the island when it isn’t
more than a door that opens outward.
And you, just getting ready
to arrive, with your foolish, passive fleet,
no place to put your things.
You, so suddenly taken
by the shore like a resolution.

 

18

You wanted to unchart feeling,
to seal it with the other side
of history, to discourage
commitments of thirst and stake
the depth of everything that disregards you
on its impossible nothingness. Yet you discover
that from one island to the next, for everything that swims
at the pace of a discrete swell,
despite what’s soft, despite what’s idle,
the back and forth dizzies. Your back turned to the kiss,
you piss away sense, Recienvenido.
You can’t visit any of your visions.
Maybe it’s just the heat of the diminished body,
poorly clung to its abandon.
Keep watch over your gaze, Recienvenido!
See how it fills with improbable
ports, with seas bitter to touch,
with shores. See your skin escaping
as in the face of a chill: know that out there
what’s present and known and to be named scatter
on islands made invisible.


From
Versión del viaje © Claudia BecerraTranslation © 2022 Jacqui Cornetta. All rights reserved.

Read Next

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]