Tuesday, February 5, 2019

draft - Letters To A Spanish Girl I

Letters To A Spanish Girl I
A la atención de Su Señoría / [xxx]
De: rendido admirador / [xxx]

Su Señoría xxx,

I finally dare, for the reason I explain later▼, to write to Your Grace after many months since the moment in which I had the privilege of breathing for the first time in the same room that You were in, blessed person.

(Although [tanto tengo para decirle que no me atrevo a empezar.]*    :-)    )

This cannot be done in any other way than speaking to You in an extremely respectful manner, so that it is made explicit the enormous distance between such a special person as Your Honor and Your devout admirer, who absentmindedly wait for the day to contemplate You in a so elevated position from the pedestal of that altar** in which You are*:

        "I' benedico il loco e 'l tempo et l'ora               [Y bendigo el lugar y el tiempo y la hora
        che sì alto miraron gli occhi mei,                     en que mis ojos tan alto miraron,
        et dico: "Anima, assai ringraziar dei                y digo: Alma, mucho has de agradecer,
        che fosti a tanto onor degnata allora."              que de tanto honor entonces fuiste honrada.]

Maybe I misspoke saying "admirer," mi señora. A passionate poet, if any other class is possible, is, actually, ADORADOR. In imitation of the true poets, even knowing I have no talent to be of their numbers, I consider myself an idolater of Your complex person–the combination of the visible person and the essence, we could say spiritual essence, that we envision there is beyond what is visible (la intuición me la ha dado verla sonreír cuando habla con compañeros Suyos).

These prodigies of Your character, hidden from us at first because they were not immediately apparent, comprise the enigmatic and mysterious component of a Grace we all were waiting for.

Those unfortunate artists of past centuries didn't paint or carve a fourth Grace because Your sacred steps had not marked their imprint on this sad planet and there was no certainty, until recently, that there were more than three ones.

Pero nosotros, Sus súbditos de hoy, no tenemos dudas: somos más afortunados, hemos coincidido en el tiempo con Su presencia y sabemos que el cuarto regalo que nos hacen los dioses a los hombres es Su Señoría, de nombre ignoto.


It is difficult to take the decision to write down some words, and much harder to deliver them. Many good poets and musicians regret to leave extant their poor works, always defective, insufficient ... and I'm just a troubadour. Although these texts are not worthy of Your Honor's attention, I finally found the courage and audacity to communicate with You.

Le hago llegar estas líneas con motivo del Primer Día Internacional de Glorificación de la Mujer Mágica, que se celebra hoy y que acabo de instituir ayer mismo tras pensar en Vd.

(No se preocupe Su Señoría, no es que deje de pensar en Su persona por muchos minutos... Simplemente se me ocurrió ayer tras una de las veces en que me acordé de lo agradable que resulta verla y escucharla cuando tengo la oportunidad.)

On the occasion of this solemn day I dare to steal some of Your time to read some thoughts† that I believe are very beautiful and appropriate for this day, even risking that they are just funny to You:
[Woman is certainly within her rights, and she even performs a kind of duty when she endeavors to appear magical and supernatural; she should dazzle men and charm them; she is an idol who should be covered with gold in order to be worshipped.
She should therefore borrow from all the arts the means of arising above nature in order better to subjugate all hearts and impress all minds.

It is of no consequence that her ruse and artifice be known by all, if their success is certain and their effects always irresistible.]

(Of course I do not necessarily agree with all the texts I print here, nor do I endorse the authors' inclinations, politics, life, etc.)

I am fully conscious that if the writings that I make mention of in this and following (!) letters are of Your liking, it is applicable to me what Sir John Suckling said‡:

        "But the spite on ’t is, no praise                              [Pero a pesar de esto, ningún encomio
        Is due at all to me:";                                              me es debido];

is Your Grace, la señora mística, the one that inspire to uncover beautiful things to be able to send them to You.

Yo quiero que pueda Vd. disfrutar de lo que es bello y agradable. Por eso, además de lo que otros escriben de forma admirable, adjunto una imagen y su calco. No tengo dote ninguna para pintar, así que, para Vd., reduzco a líneas básicas cosas hermosas que veo y se las muestro. Sé que es de muy poco valor, pero en ausencia de capacidad artística, pongo mi esfuerzo, aunque sea una pobre compensación     :-(    .

I've got several letters like this in preparation. May Your Honor authorize me to share them with You? You may authorize me writing to my e-mail֍. There is no need for me to see Your name, Your Honor, I may send them to the name of a good friend of Yours in the same office and then she will pass the letters to You. This way, Your identity will be safe. Simplemente recibe cartas bonitas y sonríe mientras las lee     :-)        .

Of course it is advisable, for Your peace of mind, to write me from an e-mail not connected to You.

I even got an idea: [...] :-)

Soy consciente de que no debería decir a nadie que le estoy escribiendo, mi señora, pero no puedo hacerle llegar estas notas si no lo comento al menos una vez. Tomando palabras de una poetisa rusa¶,

        [Ya me es indiferente en qué lenguaje no seré comprendida por el hombre.].

Seguiré escribiéndole si Su compasión me lo permite. ¿Sería correcto una carta por semana? Intentaré que no sean más largas que esta.

Con profundo respeto y un beso en  una  de las huellas [xxx], se despide

                 admirador rendido‡‡  ante Su Señoría

‡‡ (I cannot think of printing my name in the same paper than Your Honor's unless it is done in non-capital letters.)


*  Adapted from Petrarch Songs and Sonnets, A Bilingual Selection, translated by Richard Kilmer (London: Anvil Press Poetry, 2011), Petrarch: The Canzoniere, or Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, translated by Mark Musa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), and Atilio Pentimalli's translation (Barcelona: Ediciones Orbis, 1998),  CLXIX, 14; XIII, 5-8.

English version:

[I bless the place, the time and hour of the day
that my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,
and say: 'My soul, you must be very grateful
that you were found worthy of such great honour.]

Todos los defectos del texto no son atribuibles a nadie salvo a mí.

Esto es válido para cualquier escrito mío. "Traduttore, traditore".

**  Plato's Phaedrus, 254b. Available at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/phaedrus.html:

"And now they are at the spot and behold the flashing beauty of the beloved; which when the charioteer sees, his memory is carried to the true beauty, whom he beholds in company with Modesty like an image placed upon a holy pedestal."

This is a bad translation, it substitutes a girl for a boy ("the beloved" of the "flashing beauty")... But it suits me because Your Honor is a girl          :-)        .

†  Charles Baudelaire translated by Wallace Fowlie. New York: Bantam Books, 1964. Eloge du maquillage.

‡  Sir John Suckling's 'The Constant Lover', ca. 1630. Available at http://www.bartleby.com/40/234.html.

֍  [xxx]

¶  Marina Tsvetaeva's Antología poética. Madrid: Hiperión, 2014. Translated by Lola Díaz, version by Severo Sarduy, p. 163.

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