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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.

Penelope Unravels

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 us either.
There is a slow disaster in these hours
that seem the only ones in the day,
those which leave us in the old limits,
those that cannot give us anything,
those of which we do not ask anything.
There is a tender and decomposing disaster
in the final hours of this day
that has gone by like the others,
and, just like them, it has reached
the burning beauty
of that which gazes upon nothingness.
Leaning over my windowsill
I see how a section of time slides by;
evening has softly embalmed
the street’s noisy happenings,
the sky is shrinking little by little
and a burst of patience
wraps the world in soft, ashy hugs.

While the night opens up on the corners,
the moon sets in strange flowers.


Penélope desteje

Siempre hay adolescencia y nada en el atardecer.

Cuando el suave recodo de la tarde
insinúa su curva desolada,
algo también en nosotros se inclina.
Muy pocas cosas tenemos entonces,
ninguna posesión nos acompaña,
ninguna posesión nos ultraja tampoco.
Hay un lento desastre en estas horas
que parecen las únicas del día,
las que nos dejan en el viejo límite,
las que no pueden entregarnos nada,
a las que no pedimos nada.
Hay un desastre tierno y descompuesto
en las últimas horas de este día
que ha pasado lo mismo que los otros,
e igual que ellos ha alcanzado
esa hermosura ardiente
de todo cuanto se asoma hacia la nada.
Inclinada sobre el hueco de mi ventana
veo cómo resbala todo un tiempo;
la tarde ha embalsamado suavemente
el bullicioso suceder de la calle,
se va agotando el cielo poco a poco
y un estallido de paciencia
envuelve al mundo en suaves abrazos de ceniza.

Mientras la noche se abre en las esquinas,
cuaja la luna unas flores extrañas.

Francisca Aguirre, "Penelope Unravels / Penélope desteje" 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, "Penelope Unravels / Penélope desteje" 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

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

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