lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2015

Clive Wilmer / Report from Nowhere

Clive Wilmer

© Caroline Forbes

Versión inglesa de los poemas publicados en Clive Wilmer / Informe de ninguna parte


In the Library

You at your book. Me unable to read,
supposing that I get between your words
as, fingers twined in your hair or stroking your neck,
      you nonetheless read on.

Since you will not answer letters or calls
or nod to me in the street, I will write to the moon
or else to the image I have of you in my mind,
      which is all responsiveness.

Either way, fearing that I might touch,
you fend me off by scowling into a book;
but I’m there among the words, wanting to be,
      like them, read into you.

                                             [From The Mystery of Things, 2006]

Much Ado About Nothing

              a lot of fuss about fucking
or even about that primal quantity
known in those days as naught, as naughty,
                    calling to mind
Courbet’s L ‘Origine du Monde.

For nothing this wide universe I call
—know what I mean?
in it thou art my all

and all for nothing.
For nothing doing. Since nothing
shall come of nothing.
do on then this nought
else that thou do it for God’s love and
nothing have these nothings if this be nothing
that is not there:
                         and the Nothing that is
our inner man clepeth All.

                                            [From The Mystery of Things, 2006]

Learning to Read
In memory of my father

You were the man who named the birds
And, as you did so, taught me words –

Words on the page, that pinion there
Articulations of the air,

Much as the birds mark out their ground
With brilliant instances of sound.

                      [From Report from Nowhere, 2011]

In the Conservatory

A bird’s nest lined with leaves and moss
Kept here through the winter…
           Spring come, I find among leaf-mould
A brown mouse – its tail an unlikely flourish-
Modeling the letter ‘C’
As if it stood for Comfort,
Though it lay there fixed and cold.

                             [From Report from Nowhere, 2011]

Gregoire, 60
For Gabriel

Jane Goodall met him in Brazzaville zoo – a living skeleton, every bone in his body visible, almost hairless from malnutrition. Born 1944. Believed to be the oldest chimpanzee in the world.

Note from James and Other Apes. Photographs by James Mollison.

Shakespeare – imagine him
Granted a further decade as God’s spy.
He might have looked like this:
                                            blanched white
The patchy beard, and parched the mottled skin.

Or Rembrandt, older still, and with an eye
As dim,
A will as faint,
A hand too frail to lift a brush and paint
His own nobility exposed to light.

                                    [From Report from Nowhere, 2011]

Gaudier-Brzeska in the Trenches

From his letters

The day’s magnificent: the sky brushed clear,
Wind fresher, skylarks singing cheerfully…
Nothing I’ve yet heard has disturbed that choir –
Not the crude clamour, even, of the shells.

And in the woods at night the nightingales
Sing over us. They solemnly proclaim
Our conduct sacrilege and foolery.
I cannot but respect their high disdain.

                                 [From Report from Nowhere, 2011]

A Farmhouse near Modena, c.1980

O magnum mysterium

In the dark, the grey
Carrara shafts, with their scrolled
            A small boy
sprung out of nowhere
charges in, gloves flapping
about his wrists.
He stops short.

Hay in the mangers, straw
on the bricked ground,
                                and white
oxen parted by the shafts –
freed from the yoke, patient,
heads to the wall,
gilt traces
tingeing their soft horns.

The boy standing among them
awed, a farmhand
stoops into the corner to lift out
for his gaze
a mother hedgehog suckling her eight young,
pinkish tadpoles dangling
from her teats.

                             [From Report from Nowhere, 2011]


For Peter Carpenter

drove stakes in.
                      So that in good time
The stockade framed pictures of the wilderness.
                      So with all settlement.

I too keep watch.
I trample the nettles down which stand outside
the shored-up wall of Peterhouse on guard. For here,
as in 1280, Library and Hall secure,
the city of Cambridge ends
                  and the beautiful and fertile desolation
of the Fen Country begins:
willow and mare’s tail, heron and lacewing,
ditch-water, tussock grass and the endless sky.

There are times when the rain
comes and comes again, and then the earth
turns to water, the pollared willows stand
in water, paths disappear, and flocks
of waterbirds, their empire welling back,
honk, as if humankind had never been.

The poet Michael Longley, a gentle man
who knows too well those lovers of their race,
those neighbours who on Saturdays
plant bombs in civic centres – he told me
‘I love looking at holes in the roads,
when workmen dig up gas-pipes or whatever,
and you glimpse the soil buried for generations
and you see there can be no continuing city.’

Beneath tarmac, beyond city walls,
what have we lost or gained?
                                         I remember
a day in the 1970s when a coach
taking me into London, toward sunset,
was stopped short
by a herd of cattle homeward bound, their herdsmen
driving them on across the strip of road
bisecting Wanstead Common. There it was:
suburb, and pasture, and cars in a slowed procession,
the unschooled drivers leaning on their horns,
and against a damson sky, in silhouette,
this scene from Samuel Palmer,
Arcadian not millenarian.

Those who in the name of life
expunge abortionists and vivisectionists
do not recover pastoral innocence.

Here behind Peterhouse is a patchwork –
outbuildings, car park, scrub and a new hotel.
I look for a thing I love:
above a blocked-in gateway, carved in stone,
a heraldic shield – in the top left-hand quarter
a martlet, poised for flight,
the beak ajar and pointing toward the sky, but barred
by the black letters ALF sprayed from a gun.

                                           [From Report from Nowhere, 2011]

Approaching San Polo, Venice 

The space between the rooftops opens up
And there, on a high gable in the gap,
An angel has touched down, as if he were
A bird of passage blown off course, secure 
In mastery of the air and yet dismayed 
At finding himself here, his life mislaid 
On a strange planet where the creatures die 
Not understanding why.


The Blind Storyteller

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum

It is told of the blind storyteller Borges
That, travelling in England, he asked to see
A church surviving from the time of Bede.

In the dark porch he stooped beneath the lintel
And came erect in a strait place, foursquare
And bracketed by walls of enduring stone.
Himself a figure in parenthesis, 
Like time at pause, he paused at the chancel step
And spoke aloud, in Bede’s recessive language, 
The words of the Our Father.
                                         One would like
To hear that the roof opened to reveal
A cloudless azure firmament, with the Rood 
Borne high aloft by angels, and a stairway
At the foot of which his English grandmother
Stood pointing out her ancestors ascending 
In generations to the throne of heaven,
But there is no such incident recorded
In the account of her who tells the tale.


[Volver a los poemas en español]


CLIVE WILMER (Harrogate, 1945) es profesor en el Sidney Sussex College de la universidad de Cambridge. Su obra poética reunida, desde su primer libro, The Dwelling-Place (1977), hasta Report from Nowhere (2011) está recogida en New and Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2012). Como crítico, ha editado la obra de Ruskin y William Morris (Penguin), así como la poesía de Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Carcanet). Fue cofundador de la revista Numbers y, entre el año 1989 y 1992, presentó el programa de entrevistas de la BBC Radio 3, Poet of the Month, publicado posteriormente como libro (Poets Talking, de próxima aparición en España). Ha traducido a los poetas húngaros Miklós Radnóti, János Pilinszky y György Petri, entre otros, en colaboración con George Gömöri. Colabora habitualmente en el Times Literary Supplement y PN Review

MISAEL RUIZ ALBARRACÍN ha traducido El misterio de las cosas, de Clive Wilmer (Vaso Roto, Barcelona, 2011), Antología poética, de R.S. Thomas (Trea, Gijón, 2008) y Antología poética, de George Herbert (Animal Sospechoso Editor, Barcelona, 2014, en colaboración con Santiago Sanz). Es autor del libro de poesía El hueco de las cosas (Trea, Gijón, 2010).

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