Blai Bonet
Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana
Antologia

2. Anglès

CHRIST OF PORT-ROYAL

I am not nailed here because death is inevitable,
but because it is opportune.
Don't you see that I am giving my blood
so you can obey the commandment of not being afraid?

Before saying "love each other",
especially before saying "I shall build my Church",
I have always said "Do not be afraid",
and you have never observed it as a commandment.
And the first commandment is: don't be afraid. Fear is for animals.
Let your body be every day less like an animal's.

If you are afraid it's because you don't know what will happen to you.
And if you don't know what will happen to you,
it's because you haven't yet chosen between the calculus of probabilities and me.
My people are intelligent, atrociously determined and practical:
they know they will go through the places where I went,
because there is only this one path:
there you endure hunger, solitude, intelligence,
injustice, calumny, philosophy and letters.
But only on this track shall you be able to speak loud and clear
to those who have turned my redemption into a race.

Look at me: convince yourself that those who want to be chosen are few.
Look how I'm giving my blood
in an invisible fire of capacities to suffer;
and compare it with the great discourses of doctors in me.
Everything is possible,
except coming out publicly on my side
without something happening to you.
If nothing happens to you,
it is because, you make prudence, philosophy and letters of your life.

Look at me: you will see that peace has nothing to do with tranquillity.
And don't talk a lot;
act in representation of all the rest,
fill their place if, in life, they leave it empty.
That's what I did and my Father resurrected me.

Don't bother yourself with words. I haven't saved you with words.
Look how I have redeemed you: it was as poor as being normal;
I did at the same time two such difficult things
as growing and obeying my Father's will.
I was eighteen years old like you,
and, saving them for my God, I redeemed the eighteen years of the world;
at thirty, when I had known excrescence,
the void, need and the flower of a man among men,
I left my parents, my trade and village;
nothing in this pocket, nothing in the other,
and went off down the road
literally trusting in God's will, to confront
and struggle against evil, without explaining it ever.

I see you're not asking me
why I left evil without explaining.
In your silence there is the repentance
that knows to the root how the theological caverns
you have in your left lung were created.

Tell father Alfred Rubio that evil is a result of History,
it does not belong to mystery, and hence I didn't explain it.
I found some legs polio-marked by history
and forgave in them the crimes of history,
and they walked.
There came to me a man with sight of stone,
I absolved in it history
and gave trees to his eyes.
I stumbled on a dead body,
I gave it my life and raised it again
to the divine trade of living,
and to the mysterious trade of being of my times,
of knowing me in person,
often without being pleased to know me,
because they had to see how I was detained by the police.
I mean by this that evil is explained by healing.

Don't, then, waste your time or life
cynically seeking the explanation of what you know and do not say.
Fight evil specifically wherever you find it
and the struggle will reveal it all to you,
especially if the result is clean,
which is to say if you fail.
Or don't you know that, in the struggle,
failure is failure of the success and not of the man?

If you don't stop being poor,
you will always be superior to the world and power,
and what's more it will be seen.
The poor man always gives off fear, mystery of himself,
the poor man is literally an apparition, like a ghost,
and this is because of me.
Let me appear, then.
You know full well you are my passport.

No. Don't speak to me of your personal sins,
because from this cross there only exist those of all the world.
Struggle if you can and, if you can't, battle
in this impotence that will tell you what you can do.

(From L'Evangeli segons un de tants (The Gospel According One Among Many), 1967)

* * *

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CATALAN IN THE WORLD

Slow evergreen oaks, maternal fig trees,
crystalline poplars, tinkle of fountain bright,
under the olive tree dappled shade and light,
brambles that mute armed upheavals seize,
fresh pears, apple orchard in painted frieze,
rounded spurge flowers, the corral cold,
with asphodel blooms like silk thickened and old,
smooth rocks, grape hyacinths, asparagus, filigrees
of lichen on stone, like time's coin, yellow-gold
that among the goldfinches in silence would freeze,
mastic trees, blue lavender brimming with seeds,
flaming terebinths, prickly horse thistle clump
mountain-goat pines in arrested jump
climbing with a whistle right to the sea's
very edges, blunted stands of reeds,
dishevelled crags, the north-east wind,
sea: theatrical spirit, salty depths within,
honeycomb rocks, marshland basins of salty lees …
Like a tongue of healing herb, flush where roots begin
long-suffering rosemary flowering for the bees.

(From El jove (The Young Man), 1987)

Translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark ©






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