Anansi in the House

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A Universe in Every Mind

Thinking of the stars night after night I begin to realize
The stars are words

and all the innumerable worlds in the Milky Way are words,
and so is this world too.

And I realize that no matter where I am,
whether in a little room full of thought,

or in this endless universe of stars and mountains,
it’s all in my mind.

– Jack Kerouac, from Lonesome Traveller

“When your consciousness starts expanding, those experiences are there. All those things can be seen. It’s just a matter of expanding that ball of consciousness. And the ball of consciousness can expand to be infinite and unbounded. It’s totality. You can have totality.”

David Lynch

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That Time When Adrian Belew Was Everywhere With Everyone Who Was Anyone, Singing and Making Weird and Wonderful Guitar Sounds.

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Chiaroscuro Visions

The Uses of Sorrow 

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Mary Oliver

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Palabras/Words: Poems in Spanish Translated to English #8

The Teller of Tales

 When I’m walking, everything
on earth gets up
and stops me and whispers to me,
and what they tell me is their story.

And the people walking
on the road leave me their stories,
I pick them up where they fell
in cocoons of silken thread.

   Stories run through my body
or sit purring in my lap.
So many they take my breath away,
buzzing, boiling, humming.
Uncalled they come to me,
and told, they still won’t leave me. 

   The ones that come down through the trees
weave and unweave themselves,
and knit me up and wind me round
until the sea drives them away.  

  But the sea that’s always telling stories,
the wearier I am the more it tells me…  

  The people who cut trees,
the people who break stones,
want stories before they go to sleep.

  Women looking for children
who got lost and don’t come home,
women who think they’re alive
and don’t know they’re dead,
every night they ask for stories,
and I return tale for tale. 

  In the middle of the road, I stand
between rivers that won’t let me go,
and the circle keeps closing
and I’m caught in the wheel.

The riverside people tell me
of the drowned woman sunk in grasses
and her gaze tells her story,
and I graft the tales into my open hands. 

 To the thumb come stories of animals,
to the index fingers, stories of my dead.
There are so many tales of children
they swarm on my palms like ants. 

   When my arms held
the one I had, the stories
all ran as a blood-gift
in my arms, all through the night.
Now, turned to the East,
I’m giving them away because I forget them.

   Old folks want them to be lies.
Children want them to be true.
All of them want to hear my own story,
which, on my living tongue, is dead. 

   I’m seeking someone who remembers it
leaf by leaf, thread by thread.
I lend her my breath, I give her my legs,
so that hearing it may waken it for me. 


La Contadora 

    Cuando camino se levantan
todas las cosas de la tierra
y me paran y cuchichean
y es su historia lo que cuentan.  

  Y las gentes que caminan
en la ruta me la dejan
y la recojo caída
en capullos que son de huella. 

   Historias corren mi cuerpo
o en mi regazo ronronean.
Tantas son que no dan respiro,
zumban, hierven y abejean.
Sin llamada se me vienen
y contadas tampoco dejan… 

   Las que bajan por los árboles
se trenzan y se destrenzan,
y me tejen y me envuelvan
hasta que el mar los ahuyenta.  

  Pero el mar que cuenta siempre
más rendida, más me deja…   

 Los que están mascando bosque
y los que rompen la piedra,
al dormirse quieren historias.

    Mujeres que buscan hijos
perdidos que no regresan,
y las que se creen vivas
y no saben que están muertas,
cada noche piden historias,
y yo me rindo cuenta que cuenta.

    A medio camino quedo
entre ríos que no me sueltan,
el corro se va cerrando
y me atrapa en la rueda.

Los ribereños me cuentan
la ahogada sumida en hierbas,
y su mirada cuenta su historia,
y yo las tronco en mis palmas abiertas. 

Al pulgar llegan las de animales,
al índice las de mis muertos.
Las de niños, de ser tantas
en las palmas me hormiguean.

    Cuando tomaba así mis brazos
el que yo tuve, todas ellas
en regalo de sangre corrieron
mis brazos una noche entera.
Ahora yo, vuelta al Oriente,
se las voy dando porque no recuerdo. 

   Los viejos las quieren mentidas,
los niños las quieren ciertas.
Todos quieren oír la historia mía
que en mi lengua viva está muerta. 

   Busco alguna que la recuerde
hoja por hoja, herbra por hebra.
Le presto mi aliento, le doy mi marcha
por si el oírla me la despierta.

Gabriela Mistral

Translated by Ursula K. LeGuin

From Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral: Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Posted in Being Human, Dreamtime, Geographies of Death, Loss and Leaving, Mythical and mysterious, Other peoples words, Palabras, poetry, Telling Stories, visions from the dark side | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment