Diana Bellessi - Poems

The Garden

I have built a garden like someone who makes the right gestures in the wrong place. Wrong, not from error, but from another place, like talking with the reflection in the mirror and not with the one who looks into it. I have built a garden in order to converse there, elbow to elbow in beauty, with the always mute but active death working the heart. Drop the baggage it repeated, now that your body makes out the two shorelines, there is nothing, except the precise gestures --to let oneself go-- to care for and be, the garden. Treasure what you lose, it repeated, this death speaking in perfect and distant Spanish. What you lose, while you hold on, is the only companionship that gathers you up on the far shore of death.

Now the tongue can come untied so it can speak. The tongue that could never be the scapel of horror provided with the tools to make the marvelous from the ominous. Terror is only endurable to the eye if beauty sustains it. Look at the blind hole: the precise and loving gestures with no reflection in the mirror in front of which, the maker lacks meaning.

To have a garden is to give yourself over to it and its eternal movement of departure. Flowers, seeds and plants die forever or they renew themselves. There is pruning and there are moments, in the sweet darkness of a summer twilight, to see it spilling over like this while the shadow of its fall foretells the solid radiance of March, or in the dreamless sleep of the subject when it dies, while the species that contains it doesn’t stop forging itself. The garden calls for its gardener to see it die. It demands her hand sculpt and modify the naked land, given return in the tilled flowerbed under the frozen night. The garden kills and asks to be dead so it can be a garden. But to make the correct gestures in the wrong place, dissolves the equation, reveals the bleak windswept plain. Love reclaimed through difference like dark blue sky against the pain. Royal drop of the storm in whose arms you arrive on the most distant shore. I wish you were here amor, but you are, gardener and not garden. You unearthed my heart from your flowerbed.

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El jardín

He construido un jardín como quien hace los gestos correctos en el lugar errado. Errado, no de error, sino de lugar otro, como hablar con el reflejo del espejo y no con quien se mira en él. He construido un jardín para dialogar ahí, codo a codo en la belleza, con la siempre muda pero activa muerte trabajando el corazón. Deja el equipaje repetía, ahora que tu cuerpo atisba las dos orillas, no hay nada, más que los gestos precisos -dejarse ir- para cuidarlo y ser, el jardín. Atesora lo que pierdes, decía, esta muerte hablando en perfecto y distanciado castellano. Lo que pierdes, mientras tienes, es la sola compañía que te allega a la orilla lejana de la muerte. Ahora la lengua puede desatarse para hablar. Ella que nunca pudo el escalpelo del horror provista de herramientas para hacer, maravilloso de ominoso. Sólo digerible al ojo el terror si la belleza lo sostiene. Mira el agujero ciego: los gestos precisos y amorosos sin reflejo en el espejo frente al cual, la operatoria carece de sentido. Tener un jardín, es dejarse tener por él y su eterno movimientos de partida. Flores, semillas y plantas mueren para siempre o se renuevan. Hay poda y hay momentos, en el ocaso dulce de una tarde de verano, para verlo excediéndose de sí, mientras la sombra de su caída anuncia en el macizo fulgor de marzo, o en el dormir sin sueño del sujeto cuando muere, mientras la especie que lo contiene no cesa de forjarse. El jardín exige a su jardinera verlo morir. Demanda su mano que recorte y modifique la tierra desnuda, dada vuelta en los canteros bajo la noche helada. el jardín mata y pide ser muerto para ser jardín. Pero hacer gestos correctos en el lugar errado, disuelve la ecuación, descubre páramo. Amor reclamado en diferencia como cielo azul oscuro contra la pena. Gota regia de la tormenta en cuyo abrazo llegas a la orilla más lejana. I wish you were here amor, pero sos jardinera y no jardín. Desenterraste mi corazón de tu cantero.

(Translated by Chris Jacox Kyle)

Diana Bellessi (Zavalla in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina in 1946). She studied philosophy at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral. Between 1969 and 1975 she travelled on foot through the continent. Her published work consists of: -In 1993, Diana Bellessi was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry. -In 1996, she was awarded the Antorchas Foundation Fellowship in the Arts -In 2004, she was awarded the Premio Konex, Merit Award. -In 2007, she was awarded the lifetime award in poetry from the Fondo Nacional de las Artes. -In 2010, she was awarded the Premio Fundación El Libro, the Foundation Book Award - Best Book of the Year 2009 - Buenos Aires Book Fair and the XXXIII International Poetry Award of the City of Melilla. She was declared Distinguished Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires in 2010.

In 2011, she was awarded the National Prize for Poetry.


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