Pete Hulme writes the Everybody Means Something blog, a treasure trove of deeply reasoned, well-written and thought provoking essays, reviews, ideas and poems on a wide variety of topics. Here is a poem, Dust for winds to scatter that he released recently:
You will note that Pete’s poem is after the great Spanish poet, Antonio Machado‘s poem:
¿Y ha de morir contigo el mundo mago
donde guarda el recuerdo
los hálitos más puros de la vida,
la blanca sombra del amor primero,
la voz que fue a tu corazón, la mano
que tú querías retener en sueños,
y todos los amores
que llegaron al alma, al hondo cielo?
¿Y ha de morir contigo el mundo tuyo,
la vieja vida en orden tuyo y nuevo?
¿Los yunques y crisoles de tu alma
trabajan para el polvo y para el viento?
Since I do not speak Spanish and could not find a better translation, I was forced to work with Google’s site translator:
And is it to die with the wizard world
where the memory keeps
the breaths purest life,
the white shadow of love first,
the voice that was your heart, the hand
you wanted to retain in dreams,
and loves all
who came to the soul, to the deep sky?
And you must die to your world,
is life in the old and new order yours?
Do anvils forge your soul
working for the dust and the wind?
Besides the unifying theme of struggle leading, in the end, to the wind blown dust, the reference in Pete’s poem to the idea and style of Machado’s work is clear—both are filled with a full measure of heart-filled anguish by one who has loved truly and deeply. Moreover, both poems ache so perfectly that it is not possible to read either (even in the Google translation) and not ache with them, for both talk of the essence of what it is to love and to love in life with an intensity that catches the breath and fixes the imagination.
However, to consider Pete’s poem a slavish imitation to the original would be very wrong, as he adds, I think, two essential elements that are his own: that the love he has born, being human, has not been born perfectly; but that, still, beyond this, this love he has borne has transformed him sufficiently to glimpse the mercy of the Divine. These added elements are more than beautiful and worthy sentiments, they are at once sublime in their cohesiveness, approachable by the least among us and transformative for those who can mine the core of humility buried in the depths of the poem. For me, it is a poem that only improves over time and grows sweeter to the tongue with each re-read.
What is more, I suspect that Antonio Machado feels that way too.
Thank you for reading Pete Hulme’s “Dust for winds to scatter”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.
Comments © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. Poem © 2014 by Pete Hulme; all rights reserved. Oddly enough—for me, anyway—it is used by permission of the author.