Artistic webzine on migration, borders, human rights
“Whether, entering port, we shall be welcomed by sun or by storm / or the cold mist of the breath of those who judge us, / or whether what we see might be snow trampled / by our own lies—for where we go, there the city / also goes.” A poem by Anna Aguilar-Amat, who will be in Luxembourg as an invited author to the Printemps des Poètes (25-27 April). Translated by Anna Crowe, illustration by Marco Godinho.
Page by page it shows me the anatomy of the world
-tomy, meaning cut. Rivers, trains, cities
—veins, ribs, organs, lie bound together and reduced
under my fingertips —let them do the thinking, today.
Since you have made me inward-looking I stare to see
those landscapes sheltering there that fiction has flattened out.
It’s very tenuous, whatever that crude representation has to do
with the smell of bread or the sound of bells or the evening light
touching a wall. A window on the world like a rain-puddle,
and someone else’s children playing.
This country on the map is a woman holding a glass
of sake close to her skirt: in a printed kimono, her eyes
drunk with homesickness. Singapore, Syracuse, Sienna,
your eyes, your hand, your voice all say “Look.” And though
the scale is perfect, it’s too small to let us work out
where our destiny lies. The net of distances,
neatly marked, that link You and Me—two place-names
annointed by spittle’s unnavigable river-current cannot
predict what may become, far-off, of this beauty that is ours.
Whether, entering port, we shall be welcomed by sun or by storm
or the cold mist of the breath of those who judge us,
or whether what we see might be snow trampled
by our own lies—for where we go, there the city
also goes. And these groaning, concentric circles,
are their groans cries of pleasure or pain? The peak
of knowledge it was our duty to possess?
Or the place that welcomed Adam weary of Eden,
and where he found he had never moved away?
North, or east, or here, there is always the sea; that will be,
that was, is now; our hands are the remains of shells.
Translated from the Catalan by Anna Crowe
Anna Aguilar-Amat is a Catalan poet and performer. “L’Atlas” is taken from her latest book Petrolier (eds. de la Guerra, Denes, Valencia 2003), which was awarded the Jocs Florals of the city of Barcelona.
Anna Crowe is a poet, translator and creative writing tutor. Her translation anthology Six Catalan Poets was published by Arc in 2013.
In a conceptualist spirit, Marco Godinho is interested in the subjective perception of time and space through the exploration of the notions of wandering, exile, experience, memory, and time as it is lived. Godinho’s works have been exhibited in several countries across Europe and the Americas.