Poems

BLANCA VARELA
[You struck the empty bell . . .]
translation by Lisa Allen Ortiz and Sara Daniele Rivera

You struck the empty bell three times and nobody responded. The brain, the apple, the heart were all one secret muted shadow above the infinite lawn where love kneels waiting for the line that cuts and arcs as if it were another sky.

Nostalgia of gone, of various angels. They who, when stripped of time, become allusive nakedness, rattled absence.

This is not the realm of will or desire. To translate silence is to attempt music without human ear or throat.

Translate the silence. Strike the empty bell three times. May water trickle, may whatever god exists plaster the imagined cave with mute splendor.

Cordis. Cardiac. Moist cavern, blue darkness.

Golpeaste tres veces la campana vacía y nadie respondió. El cerebro, la manzana, el corazón, eran la misma sombra muda y secreta sobre el césped infinito donde el amor se arrodilla a la espera del rayo que se curva, tajante, como otro cielo.

Nostalgia de los ausentes, de los √°ngeles varios. Ellos, despojados del tiempo, se convierten en alusiva desnudez, en ausencia turbadora.

No es el reino de la voluntad o del deseo. Traducir el silencio es pretender hacer m√ļsica donde ya no existen ni la garganta ni el o√≠do humanos.

Traducir el silencio. Golpear tres veces la campana vacía. Que mane el agua mínima que el dios exista colme con mudo resplandor el antro imaginario.

Cordis. Coraz√≥n. Caverna h√ļmeda, oscuridad
azul.

Blanca Varela (1926-2009) was born in Lima, Peru and authored nine collections of poetry. She was the recipient of Gabriela Mistral Medal, the Octavio Paz Prize and the Reina Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry.

Lisa Allen Ortiz and Sara Rivera co-translated The Blinding Star forthcoming from Tolsun Books in 2021.