Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"The Giraffe" by Laureano Albán

The giraffe is a serious matter,
like a great wind,
like the two hundred blue poppies
that tumbled down your hair
when I kissed you,
like the way, far from dying,
afternoons have when
they open the door and wait
and wait until six o'clock sharp
to hurl the serene
aromatic night over our bodies,
which are still alone.

The giraffe is a serious matter,
irreconcilable and spotted,
like swallows silhouetted
against the distance.
With those large legs
of towering sugar,
with that neck of a solitary star
rising toward its dream,
who could have brought it into this world
and set it loose
to nibble on clouds and the flood?
And who gave it permission
to look at us from that safe height
full of tiny amber-colored birds?

--Because I'm sure that man
and his vigilance of eternal midnight
will arrange the bread
and thirst of the rivers,
will allocate the earth
illusion by illusion,
will dispose of death
and its red outrages,
and will even be able,
perhaps, to distribute prophecies
and gods equally among everyone.
Ah, but the giraffe--
that creature who falls constantly as he walks
but never falls
(as if somebody invisible were lifting him
at each high step
of bells and neverness),
the same creature who wears drooping roses
on his rainy back--
the mobile giraffe,
lord of absurdity, him
we'll never understand,
never, because the gods decided
mystery should smile
in him.

(Translated from the Spanish by Fred Fornoff)