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Passeig d'aniversari

Joan Vinyoli
"It is a nightmare..."

It is a nightmare to always have on hand
the little flask of cyanide hidden away
in the drawer, in case I had to use it,
given the absurdity of the universe
or of Man, nagging with useless questions
in the order imagined by the demiurge.

Once the blood stopped, I would no longer
have to open and close the worm-eaten
door again nor light the fire,
because the stew of life tastes bad,
nor make the bed, nor anything else.
Freed from hunger,
pleasure and pain, what am I in the end?
No conjectures, now. Metaphorical
in everything but death, the worms will answer
in the shadows.
Now all I know is that inside
I have flares and shaded nooks of memories,
metallurgical fires and toucans in soft,
silent flight that speak to me of a faraway
jungle. But what about the caged bird
of paradise? And what about us all?
Caged as well.
What a painful longing
for an endless sun and a big open space
to live forever!
May the badger shelter us
in the winter and the fat hippopotamus
take us, in the heat, to the rivers where it bathes.

Translated by Deborah Bonner
Joan Vinyoli, "It is a nightmare..." . A: Catalan Writing 8 [Barcelona: ILC] (abril 1992), p.37.
Joan Vinyoli al bar El Velódromo, 1978. Foto: Jordi Nebot
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