poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

occasions

Recorded by Ana Valverde Osan, September 7, 2016.

About this poet

Francisca Aguirre was born in Alicante, Spain, in 1930. Her first poetry collection, Ithaca (Ediciones Cultura Hispánica, 1972) received Spain’s Leopoldo Panero Poetry Award. This collection was later published in the United States as Ithaca (BOA Editions, 2004), translated by Ana Valverde Osan. Aguirre has published several other poetry collections in Spain, including Historia de una anatomia (Ediciones Hiperión, 2010), winner of the 2011 Premio Nacional de Poesía, and Ensayo General: Poesía Completa, 1966–2000 (S. L. Calambur Editorial, 2000). She has also received the María Isabel Fernández-Simal Award and the Esquío Award, among others. Aguirre lives in Madrid, Spain.

Farewell

translated by Ana Valverde Osan

To say goodbye means so little.
We said goodbye to childhood
and it came after us like a dog
tracking our steps.
To say goodbye: to shut that obstinate door that refuses to remain closed,
the persistent scar that oozes memory.
To say goodbye: to say no; who achieves it?
Whoever found the magic key?
Whoever found the point that slides us toward oblivion,
the land that will extirpate the roots
without remaining forever closed over them?
To say goodbye: to turn one’s back; but
who knows where the back is?
Who knows the way that does not die in the well-traveled shortcut.
To say goodbye: to yell because one is saying something
and to cry because nothing is being said;
because saying goodbye is never enough,
because to say goodbye completely
might be to find the spot where to turn one’s back,
the spot to sink oneself into the final no
while life slowly seeps out.


Despedida

Decir adiós quiere decir tan poco.
Adiós dijimos a la infancia
y vino detrás nuestro como un perro
rastreando nuestros pasos.
Decir adiós: cerrar esa obstinada puerta que se niega,
la persistente cicatriz que destila memoria.
Decir adiós: decir que no; ¿quién lo consigue?
¿quién encontró la mágica llave?
¿quién el punto que nos desliza hasta el olvido,
la mano que extirpará raíces
sin quedarse para siempre cerrada sobre ellas?
Decir adiós: volver la espalda; pero
¿quién sabe donde está la espalda?
¿quién conoce el camino que no muere en el pisado atajo?
Decir adiós: gritar porque se está diciendo
y llorar porque no se dice nada;
porque decir adiós nunca es bastante,
porque tal vez decir adiós completamente
sea encontrar el recodo donde volver la espalda,
donde hundirse en el no definitivo
mientras escapa lentamente la vida.

Francisca Aguirre, “Farewell / Despedida” from Ithaca. Copyright © 1972 by Francisca Aguirre. Translation copyright © 2004 by Ana Valverde Osan. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Francisca Aguirre, “Farewell / Despedida” from Ithaca. Copyright © 1972 by Francisca Aguirre. Translation copyright © 2004 by Ana Valverde Osan. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Francisca Aguirre

Francisca Aguirre was born in Alicante, Spain, in 1930. She is the author of Ithaca (BOA Editions, 2004), translated by Ana Valverde Osan. She lives in Madrid, Spain.

by this poet

poem

translated by Ana Valverde Osan

There is always adolescence and nothing else at dusk.

When the soft bend in the evening
insinuates its desolate curve,
something within us also bends over.
We have very few things then,
no possession accompanies us,
no possession offends

2