Helena Villa Janeiro ( Galician Poet )




From the pub’s womb music emanates
through the west windowspane
violins and acordeons
xut the sunlight into polyhedra
and lay the last diamonds
on the afternoon’s lap.

I have just been watching the swans on the Thames
been hearing the elder-trees that filled
the air with a white odour
and listening to the wind’s pianos
in the fingers of fir-trees.

And I tempted by the pub
with its hot hubbub breath,
with music spilled through ale foams
and the invitation to the dances I danced as I May girl,
when he let music pour out in cascades
over the wisteria along the alleyvays
that cast the shade
where I stood for Spring.

How much time you lost! Says the blood
shed from crystal’s wounds
dropping over the faded contours
of things and tastes
and its reproach echoes
in the spreading fainted colour,
in an harmonious accord of final cadence,
in the last drop of liqueur
that slides down the glass and the lips.

For I knew how to mark each world-changing poem
whit a rose petal
and I knew how to carve calendars on the barks of trees
to signal love
but could not note down the day
nor the hour
when he played for mi
his final music.



“Frasilia will forever be young
because the gods took her with them
when she was in her bloom
like spring”.

Frasilia was the daughter of a noble father
who paid a poet
to write this epitaph
and paid a sculptor to recast her body in the whitest marble
so she could timelessly hold with her left hand
the lotus flower of her coffin lid
and with anaemonae from Olympia
-tose tht are brought by the wind-
she encircled
her carnal face.

Frasilia now lives in the museum of Athens,
Panepistimio stret, closer
to the grand Syntagma Square
where Greeks call everyday things
by de names that we keep overburdened
with solemnities.

Translation by Isabel Pedro




Oh, I don’t know if it was her,
if she was there in the window behind the lace curtains
whit her little white head
upright line a match stick or cypress tree
or since when!

The rising sun and fairy of de lands
and, lady of de clouds and fairy of the lands,
waiting for me
every morning in time
mistress of it
drop by drop.

Did she know that I had come on the wings of birds,
with the running of the clouds
or with the symphony composed by the wind?

So that I would appeary yesterday
whit the last star
and she in the morning
told me of the woodlands and of deer.

She remembers the afternoon smell when transplanting rouse bushes
and chrysanthemums,
the tangible mystery of fresh daisies
by the side of the prairies,
the sound of the water running trough the old mills
and the little baby worms in birchwoods.

Perhaps she waited to leave one afternoon
like a butterfly
so that I wouldn’t notice her absence,
nor have the affliction of being an orphan dawn on me.

But night told me that she had left
because she had thrown the dust of farewell in my sleep
and had discovered a new flight of silk
with the doves
above the bell tower
that since then has never tolled for dead.



By de rivers’s edge I was a doe
while the water ran blue as irises
and created the desire for a new song
over my body.

It was the afternoon tha I killed the snake,
rhat the bells followed me,
that I looked at cherries with the desire
to scratch their lips.

The mirror is close to you,
they all came to tell me
and even the fingers of de wind pinted at the water
that sang amidst the fornd
under the rivers’s body.

Amidst the bulrushes
I wanted to be bare like the doe that looks at herself in the water
and rejoice the shapes of the apples of my breast
and in the fruits of my buttocks
moist and sweet-smelling
just like the afternoon.

An I gave my clothes to the hazelwoods
and I felt the caresses that were cold
on my back of the water
like fish.

And it will always be in April
that I will bebare in the water
of a new born river.

Translation by Kathleen N. March



Time became a golden gillyflower
while flocks of wise butterflies
sewed the rip of each afternoon
in a strange city
where lemon trees lost their yellow
and the waters, their mirrors.

I kenw that somewhere I was being missed,
while waiting for the sparrow that never passes by,
I knew that on some unknown slope
mint and violet must smell like me
and I went in searche of myself.

And there gentleman they call Choronos
rose with the mists
confusing the heather’s colors
with thatched roofs.
And I am on his horse,
with his highriver gust,
eache of us stiff and up right like a pair of lances
that carve out the diameters of space,
we discovered that water which falls
into the grasp of the birches
into the red jewels of the service tree,
over the gray, wind-worn stones,
was only H2O,
and in the tower at the mountain’s summit
the water were prayers penetrating the mystery of solitude,
of the frightened bird,
the blade of rye
and the wasp of the air.

The syllables of all words blended together
in a Wgnerian chorus
and there at last I could live with myself
in the holy mountain and in my being,
and listen to the bell
within silent sanctuary
feeling like a loosened drop,
like path and wind
and even like being and not being,
to lose and regain myself
allowing my clay to settle in the gray temple
where de Sun hide
and working that clay whit my hands trough the blue window,
trough the golden height of tomorrow’s east,
where de poet calls out from the rose
and changes us into pilgrims approaching the noble well
of sweet-scented emotion.

In the mountain dales
two eagles danced a liturgical motet
howling in the green phantom shadows
and I came back new in a dream of color
gathering words in ripe strawberries
in the flower of every elder tree.

Translation by John Burns


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