POETRY - Narcís Comadira

Narcís Comadira (Catalan)
Gowend 6

Falconeria / Hawking

Now I am a falcon and I clutch

my master’s fist. I breathe in the fresh morning air

and the smell of velvet and sable, the sweat of horses,

the trampled hay, the steam

rising from the ground.

Grass and tiny flowers, a luxuriant tapestry I shall see

from aloft, when in circles, magnificent,

I view my dominions, the grassland, the dwarf trees,

the brook, the elusive hare.

And the horses, the spaniels, and my Lordship

with his knights and the great falconer,

the pages, the attendants, all equally dwarfish,

scattered throughout the meadow...

My Lord says to me: I want a large hare,

smelling of lentiscus (my Lord is a poet),

as he strokes my feathers with his fingers.

I feel an emperor, perched on my Lordship’s fist,

in my leather hood fringed with streamers.

There is movement, the sound of strident voices, neighing and prancing

while the kennel-grooms unleash and urge on the dogs.

The moment is near, my Lord caresses me,

he wants a large hare, smelling of lentiscus

(I am a poet as well). My heart is pounding.

And now, at this point, I am the lord and master

of the world and the people. Everyone within my circle,

paying me undivided attention, expectant while I am lost

to sight and return, as my flight spirals, assesses,

spies the frightened hare.

My eyes are like arrows, my talons grow sharp

and a sweet giddiness overwhelms me.

Sky and earth are one, the trees and clouds, the grass and fur

of the skittish hare. I see nothing, a power

pulls me down, toward the pit of nothingness,

and I strike like lightning. By whose

will am I ruled?

What dark power pulls me down, what strings

move my wings, what fire

is so able

to heat my body’s blood?

Now, in my talons, I hold the dead hare,

smelling of earth and lentiscus.

It’s all over, my empire has fallen.

The great falconer

will allow me to tear a piece of warm liver...

My Lord will laugh with his friends, afterwards,

in my hood fringed with streamers,

I shall feel ridiculous.

That which makes us forget ourselves, always lasts so little!

Translated by Sam Abrams, Enigma (1985)

Un passeig pels bulevards ardents / A walk down the burning boulevards


Que Paris était beau à la fin de septembre.

There was a warm breeze like the end of a season

And there we were, chatting, in the light of noon.

Soon each would flee quite happily

Down his secret road, unreal with so many dreams.

Ah, grief, discreet leopard

Sleeping in the shelter of the limes.

That world was fading. Perhaps we all knew it

And took it calmly, smiling gently,

Immortal within the instant we fixed for ever.

Que Paris était beau à la fin de septembre.

What is your secret, what is your secret?

You repeatedly said. We traced

Figures in the sand, theorems

As old as ourselves. I was silent.

Who knows what storms were hidden

Inside that little head, what uncertain desires,

What remote journeys leaping from tree to tree

With your elastic body. What secret?

Am Brunnen vor dem Thore,

da steht ein Lindenbaum.

ich träumt’in seinem Schatten

so manchen süssen Traum.

Ah, my grief, panther always on the alert,

That world was fading, fading.

What is it, your secret? you simply said to me.

There was a warm breeze like the end of a season.

Que Paris était beau à la fin de septembre.

Would we, together, have hunted the White Whale?

London, February 1973

Translated by Arthur Terry, Un passeig pels bulevards ardents (1974)

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