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Sergio Badilla (Chile, 1947)

Sergio Badilla (Chile, 1947)

Sweet Young Lady

A last-chance love has ended.
Such storming—no shelter reached.
Such inclemency—no refuge had.
Night wears its darkest face tonight
In the small hours agony itself becomes a whirlwind
            Sorrowful young lady
so doleful, most sad
her heart beats, yielding rough splinters
with its sudden throbbings
In the depths of her silence she is damaged
and her eyelids cede to the force of her tears:
    perverse    unlucky    shameless
The celebration has ended for now and perhaps forever
biting are the fractured writings of the scoundrel
who torments her soul.
She is blind.    The light of the timid courtesan
is out
after the repeated false faces
of her sullen lover
the feigned charms of a bachelor passionate
and trapped among the beggars with a look of penitence
he remains to ask forgiveness for his audacity
        Off the mast last trip’s dirty sails still hang
The wind hisses
radiance cannot pass through the sea of hanging sails
the prayer repeats itself like a crystal voice in a familiar tongue
and is lost in the squall
Our maid
frail and old      a hurricane crosses her face
cracking her careful manners    her pleasant gestures
The estuary is distant    opposite the reef
Nevertheless it is she who succumbs while the ship stays afloat
and the ocean rises up portside to her thoughts    Rimbaud and
maybe only Rimbaud starboard to her
struggling in his drunken boat
Motherhood never knotted her womb
never pressed upon it the legitimacy of the sapling
not in deepest love or idle chance
    there sensation stayed untouched
        the seed of marble and the progenitor, sterile

Tranlated by Deborah Moore

Sergio Badilla was born in Valparaíso, Chile in November 30, 1947. Poet, narrator, essayist, playwright, translator, journalist, anthropologist and university professor. During his stay abroad, for political reasons -20 years - he was part of the Stockholm Workshop Group. Cultural journalist in Radio Sweden International and in the program Panorama of Sveriges Radio, during 13 years. Guest to the World Congress of Poets in Madrid, Poetry International of Rotterdam, The First Encounter of Writers of Spanish Language in the Canaries Islands, The World Encounter of Poets from Oslo and to Poesidagarna, in Malmo, Sweden where more than 40 poets gathered. In 1989 he organized, in collaboration with Sun Axelsson, The First Great Encounter of Latin American Poetry in Stockholm, Sweden, with the assistance of more than 40 poets, currently living in Europe. With La Mirada Temerosa Del Bastardo, he obtained the Poetry Prize: Ciudad de Valparaíso. He has been translated into Swedish, English and French. Other of his poetry books: La Morada del Signo, 1982; Cantonírico, 1983; Reverberaciones de Piedras Acuáticas, 1985; Terrenales, 1989; Saga Nórdica, 1996.
Última actualización: 28/06/2018