THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sándor Kányádi: Brief Encounter with Cartagena (two days before the New Year)
The last few days have settled atop me like a dreary blanket. If only the sun would shine. If only I could be walking along a beach with bright blue stretching beyond me. Somewhere in the gloom rise up a few lines from the Hungarian poet Sándor Kányádi, whose work I've promised myself to read in the new year. Not that our Blue Ridge Mountains have been icy, as Sandor describes the Carpathians. But lately they have seemed gray and overbearing. Or is this an internal landscape I'm describing? Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.
And then my husband turns on CNN and like Kányádi I want a gulp of light and color and hope, more than one gulp, actually. The reference to the Spanish Poet Federico Garcia Lorca, his voice a broken string, murdered in an olive grove by fascists, makes me want to call out, despite everything, with this Hungarian poet about whom I know nothing, to a place within a country suffering its own internal horrors---Cartagena, Cartagena!
And I marvel, yet again, at how a poet from another country, writing in a language indescribably difficult and unknown by most English speakers, could move me at a time like this--the beginning of another year with its unknowable terrors and challenges. How the voice of poetry continues to call out to us, beseeching us to answer, however we can.
"one gulp of your light and color will be plentiful enough in the icy Carpathians to gild my remaining years with love"
Brief Encounter with Cartagena (Románc)
Composed by a Hungarian traveling singer on a broken string of Federico Garcia Lorca
Plowing water with one wing the airplane started flying low till among lagoons it came upon a landing strip aglow; the sky was brightly bubbling blue, the ground became a green concave when the plane bumped down to land letting its engines roar and rave, the tiny little huts on stilts tucked their scanty shadows in, rattling like flea-market toys, wind-up frogs, made out of tin, earth in sky and blue in green, each lived in the other’s face with a drunken-love embrace, and the sign said: Cartagena. A noon like that I’d never seen, fired by a flaming sun, in it bushes, bays, and huts mingled in erotic fun; the plane stopped there a half an hour, the time it takes to birth a child or inter an unknown dead found abandoned in the wild, but in that time you seduced me and since then kept me in your thrall, I dream of life in one of your huts, forgotten by and forgetting all; atop the staircase rolled up to the stranded plane I plainly saw that your earth and sky, green and blue, were mine to drink, oh, Cartagena. Taking off I felt quite sure the vibration of each hut had a loving couple in it, belly to belly, butt to butt. Oh, why did we have to part, why didn’t you tighten your embrace? Now every season is a winter and snow surrounds me every place. I’d give my soul, my salvation, for just one of your sultry nights, I’d gladly exchange eternity for one moment of your delights! This love has made a fool of me, a loving fool who sobbingly writes about his fear he’ll never see his love again, oh, Cartagena. But one gulp of your light and color will be plentiful enough in the icy Carpathians to gild my remaining years with love; what we have is but a pale imitation of your sun, it rises and sets reminding me of the brightness now long gone. Oh, your blue and green, you Siren of the Caribbean Sea, your blinding light has forever etched your magic name in me; to gringos you’re a travel poster but to me a love come true, I often catch me calling you, Cartagena, Cartagena.
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.