23 April 2009

Deeper than all roses

Today is the day of Sant Jordi, a day of books and flowers and romance. You can read about the history of the day in last year's post, in which I express my wish to be in Barcelona for the festivities. Wish granted!

It's a perfect, warm, day, and I am looking forward to perusing some bookstalls in the gothic quarter, although if the rumors I hear are accurate, leisurely perusal is pretty difficult in the midst of masses of frenzied book-buying crowds (bookstores do close to ten percent of yearly sales on this one day alone). Plus, my cold/cough thing has returned with a vengeance, and I can barely breathe without hacking and gasping. Which does not bode well for singing tonight in our Sant Jordi concert. Boo.

I had the occasion this week to hear Chenjerai Hove speak on the power and fragility of the word, and Derek Walcott, one of my poetry heroes, speak on the "spectre of empire," although mostly he didn't talk about that at all. What he did talk about was contradicting oneself, and the idea of home, and Obama (he read two occasional poems on the elections), and Pasternak. Disjointedly interesting, but especially enjoyable during this week of celebrating literature, language and the book.

A poem is in order. On this springy day, I thought of e.e. cummings, the consummate poet of spring, and one of his rose poems, "somewhere i have never travelled."

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

[photo credit: flickr user PĂ­xel]


pinolona said...

I love this poem, and I had completely forgotten it existed. Thanks for posting it and reminding me!

Amanda said...

my favorite poem! or at least, the one that first turned me on to poetry (back in 11th grade). thanks for the reminder...