EVOCATION OF SILENCE (TRANSLATION EXTRACTS) BY HANS GIÉBE

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Hans Giébe is an artist, writer, painter and poet who hails from the city of Pachuca in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.  He is quite prolific in his output and also writes at his site ‘The Seventh Verb.’  Take a look!   I met Hans sometime last year at a poetry reading of the online literary magazine ‘The Ofi Press‘. The Ofi Press, founded and run by Englishman Jack Little, publishes international fiction and poetry from its base in Mexico City.  It is also well worth checking out.  At one of the subsequent Ofi Press readings, Hans read part of his long poem or rhapsody ‘Evocación al Silencio’. The piece was written while Hans was in Paris in the autumn of 2012.

Hans also had some copies for sale and I decided to buy one.  I read the poem and was very impressed by the sparse use of language and the imagery.  The spacing and the patterns formed by the words are also very interesting and add a further element of intrigue to the poem.  Shortly after reading it I decided it would be a nice challenge to translate Hans’ work from Spanish to English.  I started translating the poem with the aim of being as faithful as possible to the original work while trying to maintain a similar structure.  I contacted Hans and told him that I was working on the translation and asked whether he would be interested in looking at it.  After some time and after sending through sections of the poem to Hans as I finished them, I completed the English translation.  I think Hans was and is happy with the translation. Below I am publishing eight extracts from the English translation while at the very end of this entry you can see a video in which Hans reads extracts of the poem in the original Spanish.

(THE OPENING)

I interrupt this brief quietude

                                                  so that my voices

                                                          evoke the absolute

                                                                     bite with avidity

                                                                                  their infinite

                                                                                         fragments

                                                 scattered and irrigated 

                                                over this dry page of white deserts

                                                and pubescent plains

                                                that are invoked to me in each grain of gold and sun

 

                              s c a   tt   er     ed 

                               over this vastness

                                                      of pale silence

 

 

                                              I will open a crack

                                                        I will split my mouth

                                                                So that the intangible

                                                                       nectar of nothingness

                                                                               sprouts forth

 

 Oh

 exquisite silence

 

 You tear at the belly

 of every word

 

 

 

                                               I was

                                                    at the beginning

                                                         he who the divine despised

 

                                                                                 a sprig of darkness

 

                                                                       pending light

                                                          and when light came

                                                she didn’t recognize me

                                               then I lit my own

 

FLAME

(EXTRACT 2)

I share my 

           spine

                                                                                          with snakes

                                                                                             and scorpions 

                                                                                                 vast

                                                                                             nerve

                                                                                          milky

                                                                                     spillage

                                                                                 over each

                                                                                    scale

                                                                                 radiating

                                                                                blackness

                                                                               from the

                                                                                 open

                                                                                  cavity

                                                                                    of

                                                                              everything

(EXTRACT 3)

standing one time

    I invented a dance

                                                                                   that needed

                                                                                   no sign

                                                                                   I drank from its fire

                                                                                   I danced on its edges

          holding an abyss

                         between my lips

                                         a silent limbo

                                           that never leaves me

 

                                     I possess an abyss

                                            a well where

                                              all light

                                              will die

                                         and my own space

             to forever roam

 

I AM THE ABYSS

 

 each day I experience

   a defragmentation

    of the countless parts

    of who I am

(EXTRACT 4)

it becomes a frenetic abduction 

of self illusion and bewitchment 

I receive its captive honey 

I release

 the prisoner

and suck the jovial coolness

until I disappear

(EXTRACT 5)

the seasons spin

            on their axis

                         when I speak

there are mornings of radiant lapis lazuli

                                                     it is spring

noon collapses into embers

                                     it is summer

hills grow weary of their ocher skin

autumn no longer wishes to be autumn

(EXTRACT 6)

to know

the nudity

of all matter

 the intense glow 

of ancient alabaster 

the cavity of a broken amphora 

from which the essence sprouts forth

(EXTRACT 7)

I wish for silence to return to me once again and to swallow it

in one mouthful to acquaint myself with its motionless song which

is in harmony with eternal quietude and to be that stony-eyed statue

 following the melodic sequence of echoes and the void of the archaic

 illuminated voice while mutely looking at musical notes being

 intermittently skinned as they cross the regions of oblivion second by

 second into the great bonfire to desiccate me in every way to receive

 the dull noise of the birth of the worlds on that night when all was

 flooded and I was let in on the almost sacred eternal secrets

 delighting my ears with their tongues which traverse the desolate

 valleys with the same devotion as I crave to restore the ancient

 rituals of language

(EXTRACT 8)

although I was curious

 about palaces and distant peoples

                                                                       an encounter with my own solitude

 was what I most desired

                        solitude is silence

                              and it is only in silence

                                                that my face

                                       is clearly reflected

 

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