Wednesday, June 27, 2012


By Aurelio Arturo

Translated by Raúl Jaime Gaviria
With the collaboration of
Edgardo Arturo and Nicolás Suescún  

Cabelleras y sueños confundidos  
cubren los cuerpos como sordos musgos  
en la noche, en la sombra bordadora  
de terciopelos hondos y olvidos.  
Oros rielan el cielo como picos  
de aves que se abatieran en bandadas,  
negra comba incrustada de oros vivos,  
sobre aquel gran silencio de cadáveres.  
Y así solo, salvado de la sombra,  
junto a la biblioteca donde vaga  
rumor de añosos troncos, oigo alzarse   
como el clamor ilímite de un valle.  
Ronco tambor entre la noche suena  
cuando están todos muertos, cuando todos,  
en el sueño, en la muerte, callan llenos  
de un silencio tan hondo como un grito.  
Róndeme el sueño de sedosas alas,  
róndeme cual laurel de oscuras hojas  
mas oh el gran huracán de los silencios  
hondos, de los silencios clamorosos.  
Y junto a aquel vivac de viejos libros,  
mientras sombra y silencio mueve, sorda  
la noche que simula una arboleda,  
te busco en las honduras prodigiosas,  
ígnea, voraz, palabra encadenada.  
Heads of hair and confused dreams  
cover the bodies like muffled mosses  
in the night, in the embroidering shade   
of deep velvets and oblivion.  

Gold flickers the sky like beaks  
of birds that swoop down in flocks,  
black warps inlaid with living gold,                  
over that great silence of corpses.          
And thus, alone, saved from the shade,  
next to the library where the murmur            
of aged trunks wanders, I hear something like   
the limitless clamour of a valley.  
Harsh drum amid the night, it sounds      
when all are dead, when all  
in the dream, in death, fall into    
a silence full and deep as a scream.        
Let the dream of silky wings haunt me,  
haunt me like a laurel of dark leaves  
but oh the great hurricane of the deep silences,  
of the clamorous silences.  
And next to that bivouac of old books,  
while the still night that imitates 
a grove moves shade and silence,     
I look for you in the prodigious depths,  
fiery, voracious, chained word.


Aurelio Arturo
(Colombia, 1909–1974) 
Aurelio  Arturo

The poetry of Aurelio Arturo is both a world and a frame of mind. It is a dazzling and intimate world revealed through the poet’s sympathy with nature. It is a self-contained, complete universe in which every object is a living being, defined by its relations with the other beings that inhabit the same world.
It is a world closed to signification but open to transcendence: in its identification with the natural world, where animals and plants are one and the same ‘vegetation’; in its identification with the senses – the tactile, the aromas “only for the ear”, the wild, rustic tastes; and with living, vital, interrelated beings, all of them charged with meaning and sentiment. 

In Morada al sur (A home in the south) Aurelio Arturo selected what he considered to be his life’s work; the rest, consequently, is conjecture. 

His poetry does not describe the interior world of the poet’s own feelings: love flows from the contemplation of the outside world and from the music of the verse. It travels through different frames of mind as it moves through the various landscapes and places of his environment, meeting their inhabitants . . . the birds . . . the leaves. 

In the end, he goes so deeply into himself (and the reader) that what flows from inside is a profound sensation of plenitude and peace, of harmony with the world, with nature – a feeling of tranquil and serene joy, not subject to sudden frights or fears. The words of his poems transport us into a world of enchantment and fantasy. 

The strength of this poetry does not inspire reverential awe; nor does it derive from playing with words. It is a quiet strength, like that of the grass in his poem “covering footsteps, cities, years”. His poetry is like a fog that imperceptibly and slowly surrounds and covers us. Words pass before our eyes, following each other; and before we realise it, we are immersed and profoundly moved, surrounded by poetry. 

Arturo’s is a mysterious poetry; but the mystery is not about something we don’t quite understand and therefore fear, but about what surrounds us, something we feel but do not touch. “In the mestizo nights that rose from the grass/ young horses, shadows, brilliant curves . . .” and “the murmur of date trees in the wind.” 

His poetry is concerned with the enjoyment of life and, although it does not deny the setbacks and sadnesses of real life, it takes them and involves them in the deep experience of the moment.

© Gilberto Arturo

Translated by Nicolás Suescún


y604 said...

This poetry is one of the most beautiful I've read in a while. It is a discover for me the author and his work . Thanks a lot!

Setty Lepida said...

I've only recently discovered Aurelio myself, and I 'm eager to read more and more, thank you so much for coming by Y604, see you on t/r ;) have a great day !