Autors i Autores

Bartomeu Fiol

2. English

Keinen verderben zu lassen, auch nicht sich selber.

They are not so difficult these bumpy brows of ours
nor so difficult a dog to console, with ringworm and all.
Upright and silent we scold each other in vain, entreating:
may the sleight of so many years take flight
from our pathways that bode evil and blight!
(But the traps of sleight do not flee alone.)
We yearn for a world without dread,
with the other our cup overflows!
(But getting mad is not enough.)

(From Calaloscans (Dogcove), 1966)

* * *

De aquí no se va nadie
[From here no one leaves.]

We shall not move from here – as you very well know –
on this shore close together, leaning into the blustery wind,
into the bearings of the beach and the silences of asphyxia
– stubborn, stubborn, stubborn
driven out, sullen and soiled
and anything else you like –
lacking a well established safe-conduct
with a lot of weighty seals, dripping,
where, with clarities of blood would be written
the whole truth, letter by letter.

(From Calaloscans (Dogcove), 1966)

* * *


Though we are still fearful and don't amount to much
thus knowing we are so susceptible
and are strangely incapable
of correcting ourselves as we ought,

it shouldn't make us afraid
to come to silence,
not afraid at all
to remain in silence,
decent like a stone or animal.

Savage and at once imprisoned, the word
is much more dangerous.
Like a ravishing girl
it makes us turn the corner, lose the thread.

We don't have to try to pronounce the truth,
give lessons, read the good news,
or statistics recite, well-informed
or, like someone who’s triumphed in advance,
opine on the therapy, point by point.

From the pulpit we come down forever more.
Of the lectern splinters we make.
The deafening loudspeakers we've dismantled.
If need be, we'll use the language of hands.

No, we don't have to be afraid
to enter into silence.
Its house has more rooms
than our dishevelled speech.

(From Camp Rodó (Round Field), 1973)

* * *


The wile of the device where artifice survives
can be considerable – and respectable.
But here, every ploughing
wants to have more to do with the soil
than with the form of the plough.

(From Catàleg de matèries (Catalogue of Materials), 1998)

* * *


Abba, grandfather or great-great-grandfather,
Thou who art everywhere,
we do honour to Thy names
– those we know and those we do not know –
and, above all else, Thy silence.

Let us to Thy kingdom of Heaven come
and may Thy will be always done
except when, like blowflies in swarm,
we suck by the dozen at evil's fat, so smart we are.

Our daily wholemeal bread
da nobis hodie
and forgive us our debts and dirty tricks
– our cruelties, insidious and dirt-tricky –
as we try to forgive them
(without much luck, it has to be said)
who are our iniquitous debtors, so smart they are too.

As for temptations, we do not have many now
unless of the most unbridled, turbulent
and cretinous rage.
But, silent Adonai, what for us is really
most absolutely essential
is that, one way or another,
Thou wiltst give some shelter to our children
for whom we shall never cease to be responsible,

yet still, if we are not mindless
scatterbrains, unsupportive failures,
we must pray to Thee too for the throng
of the dead of whatever age and condition,
living members nonetheless
– because this is what we want,
because this is what we have to want –
of our, Thy, their
overlooked communion of saints.

We need other things, it is true
but do not say we lack determination.


Translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark ©


Amb el suport de:

Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics