Ida Vitale - Poems


Summer Gratitudes

In summer: corner wind, surviving verdant in drought, tenuous, stubborn cloud appearing and crossing unshakeable sky alone, warm welcome of tree shadow, glass of water upon returning: thanks very much.

Close-cropped, grass has scents of small undecided cadaver, another deep summer fault. Desolated from such ferocious sun, this wall spits it out. Only sadnesses of agonal birds are missing to wet handkerchief edge.

To you, alphabet, thanks be given, for coming to me, despite this misery: you whisper and slow up with memories of miraculous recounted rains, of seas and apples, so overwhelmed I forget this heat, I even write it.

Measure of Distances

If a city doesn’t pulse, even a tree is nothing and a balcony loophole or cliff. You will be the prisoner nobody guards in your own chest captive.

Understand the inexplicable and love it. Take up the other side of the attempt: be thistle, when you arrived like wool, stone, when, silk thread, you would float.

Translated by Katherine M. Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez

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Gratitudes de verano

En el verano: viento de la esquina, verde sobreviviente en la sequía, tenue, obstinada nube que aparece y cruza sola el cielo imperturbable, agasajo de la sombra del árbol, vaso de agua al regreso: muchas gracias.

Rapado, el pasto tiene olores a pequeño cadáver indeciso, otra culpa del verano profundo. Desolada de ferocísimo sol, esta pared lo escupe. Sólo faltan tristezas de pájaros agónicos para mojar el borde de un pañuelo.

A ti, alfabeto, gracias te sean dadas, por acudirme, pese a esta miseria: musitas y aminoras con memorias de milagrosas y narradas lluvias, de mares y manzanas tanto agobio, que olvido este calor y que aún lo escribo.

Medición de distancias Si una ciudad no late, hasta un árbol es nada y un balcón es tronera o precipicio. Serás el prisionero a quien nadie vigila, en propio pecho encarcelado.

Entiende lo incomprensible y ámalo. Ocupa el revés del intento: sé cardo, cuando llegaste como lana, piedra, cuando, hilo de seda, flotarías.

Ida Vitale (Born 2 November 1923) is a prolific writer from Montevideo. She played an important role in the Uruguayan art movement known as the 'Generation of 45': Carlos Maggi, Manuel Flores Mora, Ángel Rama, Emir Rodríguez Monegal, Idea Vilariño, Carlos Real de Azúa, Carlos Martínez Moreno, Mario Arregui, Mauricio Muller, José Pedro Díaz, Amanda Berenguer, Tola Invernizzi, Mario Benedetti, Líber Falco, Juan Cunha, Juan Carlos Onetti, among others.[1] Vitale fled to Mexico City in 1973 for political asylum after a military junta took power in Uruguay. She currently resides in Austin, Texas. Vitale is the last surviving member of the Generation of 45.

Prizes and honors (2016) – Premio Internacional de Poesía Federico García Lorca (2015) – Premio Reina Sofía de poesía Iberoamericana (2014) – Premio Alfonso Reyes (2010) – Honorary Doctor of Letters (Doctor Honoris Causa) degree from la Universidad de la República de Uruguay (2009) – Premio Octavio Paz.


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