20 dic. 2013

L'aiguadolç


My very dear friend (and cousin) Juli has sent me several copies of L’aiguadolç 41, which includes a brief anthology of poems by Canberra’s poet Geoff Page that I have translated into Catalan. The anthology is preceded by a short introductory note analysing Page’s long career and his very humble poetics.

L’aiguadolç is a (now yearly) literary journal published by the Institut d’Estudis Comarcals de la Marina Alta. Issue 41 includes several articles on the interactions of literature and cinema by Enric Castelló, Jaume Silvestre, Joaquim Espinós, Isabel Marcillas Piquer and Aina Santamaria, plus an introduction by Joaquim Espinós; reviews and commentaries on Catalan literature by Carles Barquero Genovés, Carles Mulet, Josep Bertomeu Llop and Juli Capilla; three brand-new short stories by Lliris Picó and translations of eight poems by Geoff Page, published in English and Catalan side by side.

A very well presented volume, L’aiguadolç has now been around for many years. It is something close to a miracle that such a high quality publication has survived the onslaught of relentless political and financial harassment inflicted upon all cultural expressions by the far-right government that has regrettably ruled the Valencian country for so long.

Older issues can be downloaded gratis from: http://www.raco.cat/index.php/Aiguadolc/index

My favourite poem in this brief selection is ‘My father’s mirror’ [‘L’espill de mon pare’]. It speaks to me in ways most people should be able to understand.

L’espill de mon pare

Dos anys després
i afaitant-me davant l’espill de mon pare
hi veig la seua cara en la meua;

el mateix bulb pelat
que ens emmarca a tots dos
sempre ha estat implacable.

Un rostre
és ara cendres escampades
o un somriure tibant dins un marc;

l’altre
sent una navalla muda
que grata la pell.

Fixe el meu esguard
a través d’una finestra entelada
i hi veig mon pare, que em mira als ulls

una mica humit amb la condensació
i la mort mateixa podria ésser només
que el vidre s’entela.

mentre inesperadament,
el meu fill, amb catorze anys,
m’ha pillat des de la porta del bany

i amb sarcasme
per tan pura abstracció fa:
Xe, Papà, què estàs fent?

I aleshores es frega la galta
Tot just al lloc on una barba més
espera l’espill.

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