María Mercedes Carranza Poems


The world is that which I look at:

the table that gathers upon it
banal things such as the tablecloth and the glasses,
the milky back of the mountains at dawn,
a chair that receives the slanted afternoon light,
the artichoke leaves lying on a plate.

Life is that which dies:

a hand raised that is already dust and roots,
the word avenging itself for lack of love and failure,
the smell of a soap rubbed on when ten years old,
this wounded earth with bones and shipwrecked persons.

Heaven and its hell, hatred and love,
happiness and unhappiness, the color of light,
are the missed encounter of all these things
dictated by my dark and uncertain heart.... more »


El mundo es esto que miro:

la mesa que reúne sobre ella
cosas banales como el mantel y los vasos,
el lomo lechoso de los cerros al amanecer,
una luz que recibe la luz oblicua de la tarde,
la alcachofa que yace deshojada en un plato.

La vida es esto que muere:

una mano alzándose que ya es polvo y raíces,
la palabra que se venga del desamor y la derrota,
el olor de un jabón frotado a los 10 años,
esta tierra herida que contiene huesos y naúfragos.

El cielo y su infierno, odio y amor,
la dicha y la desdicha, el color de la luz,
son el desencuentro de todas esas cosas
que dicta mi oscuro e incierto corazón.... more »

BOGOTÁ, 1982

No one looks at another face to face
from North to South distrust: suspicion
among smiles and careful politeness.
Dark the air and fear
in all the doorways and the elevators, in the beds.
A loose rain falls
like a deluge: world city
that will never know happiness.
Soft smells that look like remembrances
after so many years that are in the air.
Half-done city, always on the verge of looking like something
like a girl that begins to menstruate,
precarious, with no beauty whatever.
Nineteenth-century patios with geraniums
where very old ladies still serve chocolate;
tenement courtyards
inhabited by dirt and pain.
On the steep and always crepuscular streets
- an opaque light as if filtered by seedy alabaster plates -
scenes as familiar as death and love take place;
these streets are the labyrinth where I must walk and retrace
the steps that at the end will be my whole life.
Grey are the walls, and the trees,
and the air from the brow to the feet of the inhabitants.
Far off the green exists, a metallic and serene green,
a Patinir green of lagoon or river,
and behind the mountains it may be possible to see the sun.
The city that I love looks too much like my life;
the weariness and boredom of living together unite us
but also the irreplaceable customs and the wind.... more »

María Mercedes Carranza Quotes

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