Here in this house of angles I’ve chosen one imperfect thing

Language: Galician
Poet: Berta Dávila
Translator: Neill D. Anderson

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Here in this house of angles I’ve chosen one imperfect thing

Five poems by Berta Dávila translated from Galician by Neil D. Anderson

Berta Dávila lives in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Spain). Dávila is the author of the poetry collections Corpo baleiro (2007), Dentro (2008), Raíz da fenda (2013), as well as the narrative works Bailarei sobre a túa tumba (2008) and O derradeiro libro de Emma Olsen (2013).
Neil D. Anderson is a visiting assistant professor of Spanish at Texas Tech University. His translations of Galician poetry and short fiction have appeared in journals such as ShearsmanAsymptoteThe Bitter OleanderDrunken Boat, and Absinthe.

[Son os remendos quen nos restitúen]

Son os remendos quen nos restitúen,
as cicatrices as que fan fogar.
Entre todos os vértices desta casa
escollo o único imperfecto,
o devir do zurcido polas liñas do día,
a poética muda do calcetín azul
rachado sempre polo calcañar.

                                        espido

[It’s the mending that restores us]

It’s the mending that restores us,
home is made of scars.
Here in this house of angles
I’ve chosen one imperfect thing,
the slow becoming of the darn,
the silent poetry of one blue sock
always holey in the heel.

                                          naked

[Hai un paxaro mudo]

Hai un paxaro mudo espreitando o silencio como un mapa,
como un delirio dondo, unha muralla,
ou un destino tráxico por dentro dos barrotes.

Eu, que nunca tiven nada que asexar en secreto,
que inventei o arrepío e a ansiedade
para abrazarme a eles pola noite,

que non souben de entre-visións
nin de velenos que me devorasen,
eu
comprendo agora:
que non quedan paredes que derrubar aquí
nin hai feridas que sandar coa urxencia
que noutrora fixo do incendio un dogma.

Podo salvarme desta casa tomada:
porque non hai lugares
nos que vivir felices para sempre.

[A quiet bird watches the silence like a map]

A quiet bird watches the silence like a map,
like a soft swoon, a wall,
or a tragic fate behind the window irons.

I, who never lay in wait,
who invented repulsion and anxiety
and held them close at night,

who never knew how to see between,
how to feel the poison gnawing at me,
I
understand now:
Here there are no more walls to tear down,
nor wounds to heal with that old urgency
that made of fire a dogma.

I can walk away from this specter house:
because there is no place
we can live happily ever after.

[É fermosa a carencia]

É fermosa a carencia
como é fermoso un deserto de xeo,
como os lobos son fermosos,
como son fermosos os velenos:

porque prenden por dentro
para que a luz se faga.

[Being without is beautiful]

Being without is beautiful
beautiful like a desert of ice,
like wolves are beautiful
beautiful like poison:

because it starts a fire within
that brings light into being.

[Cando te coñecín]

Cando te coñecín fomos simétricos
como un cristal de neve,
con esa perfección sinxela das matemáticas.

Non houbo treguas nin na xeometría
das nosas formas, nin na perfección
dos inseparados, nin na virtude
da repetición.

Moitas noites tiven medo dos números
e doutras sucesións infinitas.

[When I met you we were symmetrical]

When I met you we were symmetrical
like a snowflake,
with the simple perfection of mathematics.

We were unrelenting in our geometry,
in our inseparable perfection,
virtuous
in our repetition.

Many nights I feared numbers
and other infinite series.

[Eu terei para sempre]

Eu terei para sempre como único oficio
a custodia dos derradeiros días deste outono,
aprender as palabras necesarias para chamar por ti,
para que volvas traducir os ruídos subterráneos da cidade.

E para que regresen
as camelias en flor,
unha vaga emoción da neve que está por vir,
o consolo furtivo dun abrigo de la
cando as primerias brisas do serán
caen xa violentas sobre os derrotados

[I will always have as my only duty]

I will always have as my only duty
the keeping of these last days of fall,
learning the right words to call you with, so you might
return to translate once more the city’s subterranean sounds.

And so the camellia
might bloom again,
a quiet rumor of coming snow,
the furtive consolation of a woolen coat
when first breezes of evening
fall violent upon the vanquished.