HOW DOES A MEMORY START?
A portrait of Dionisio Ridruejo
So how does a memory start? Wasn’t it June?
The sky ripped open its gates
Over the Arga valley. Amidst the hills
The light marched in flickering obedience.
I remember how silence dimmed
The whole life tightly bound to its expanse:
The deserted roads, the city walls, and
The trail of fresh scent wafting from the pinewoods.
Listening to tolling bells I saw your eyes
Small and born of the earth,
Something playful and peasantly about them,
The gaze both slow and fixated,
Distrustful it was not, yet alert and ready
Not imperative, yet straight and close,
Hard, per chance, when locking eyes with one, and
That hardness comes in handy.
Those eyes with no eyelashes, no
Eyelids even, almost lifeless,
Free yet moderate,
With that easy and spilled nonchalance.
So how does a memory start? The last light
Had wrapped up your face in mist,
Gaunt, small, fine and tender,
The gesture tired, the strength unflinching.
The chestnut hair, and as you laugh
You cock your head ever so slightly;
The skin, rough and pale, the mouth
Blurred, worn-out yet smiling.
Bearing testimony to your life,
Your smallpox-scarred face,
Resting over it,
Great convalescing peace;
There you go, offering the peace that eludes you.
I remember you talking to me, your whole body
Finding solace in your voice, your voice being
She who carried the world in her hand,
Ample, certain, assured, true.
I remember…yet I don’t know. When did you start
To take root behind the entire memory,
Just behind, as though a train advancing
Over two lives on the same single wheel?
Luis Rosales, 1951
Translation by silensloquor.tumblr.com