On Poetry and Culture Shock

Death couplets by e. e. cummings

I don’t feel much of an impulse to write about death, the most inescapable of literary themes. I have two poems triggered by the death of Martyn Bennett , and one single little poem that looks as if it is about the death of the speaker, but it is a love declaration. Alan Spence and e. e. cummings seem to be obsessed with their own mortality; Spence has a novel all about it and cummings has lot of poems; both authors seem quite serene and calm about their respective ends. Cummings is no longer in this world, and I hope he is buried somewhere as beautiful as his poem wishes. Complete absence of rhyme in the translation; I wanted to keep the meaning so faithful that I didn’t even try the effect.

when god lets my body be

From each brave eye shall sprout a tree
fruit that dangles therefrom

the purpled world will dance upon
Between my lips which did sing

a rose shall beget the spring
that maidens whom passion wastes

will lay between their little breasts
My strong fingers beneath the snow

Into strenuous birds shall go
my love walking in the grass

their wings will touch with her face
and all the while shall my heart be

With the bulge and nuzzle of the sea

cuando dios deje mi cuerpo

De cada ojo valiente brotará un árbol
sobre la fruta que de él cuelgue

bailará el mundo apurpurado
Entre mis labios que cantaron

una rosa engendrará la primavera
que las doncellas que la pasión echa a perder

colocarán entre sus pechitos
Mis fuertes dedos bajo la nieve

entrarán en pájaros esforzados
mi amor caminando por la hierba

sus alas le tocarán la cara
y mientras tanto estará mi corazón

Con la subida y caricia del mar.

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