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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Gelman has died. Here is a free version of a poem by him that I did a few years ago:


Anyone can get warm
wearing the hide of a wild boar

but to satisfy a real hunger
nothing like a mother's soup.

At the table nobody imposed conditions--
bread, sometimes beer, bright-red

tomatoes, oil, the salt
that makes forgetting easy to eat.

What a spoon for the rice!
How it sang against the bowl!

What am I supposed to do with this
appetite for what was and what wasn't?

At five in the morning
streets of poverty

and language slipping by,
the sun giving grammars of peace

to the plants in the courtyard,
glimmers that left too soon.


Spanish prof said...

Did you like him as a poet? I know too many people who are very involved in human rights organizations, and I could never get pass the nastiness of some of his behavior (when he "recuperó" his grandchild, he wouldn't facilitate access to him to his ex-wife, the grandmother).
I know that this doesn't detract from his talent, but it is hard for me to separate the person from the artist.

Jonathan said...

Well, I don't know about that. He is a good poet, and the story I've always heard was of impeccable behavior in all respects. I'm not doubting what you say, but I simply have no knowledge of it one way or another.

Phaedrus said...

Beautiful translation. Thank you, Jonathan.