Monday, 28 March 2011

Rosalía de Castro tweet poetry 

Not new leaves a spray Of gorse and brambles

Non follas novas ramallo De toxos e silvas sós

Rosalía de Castro, poet of the liminal, who wrote that women can only write in honey […pero mel sempre e nada máis que mel.] if they are to be accepted. A contemporary of Emily Dickinson, but without her classy background, Rosalía was the illegitimate daughter of a Galician priest, but she redefined Galego as a language of poetry, the intellect and protest.

To hear her poems sung in Galego, try Rosalia De Castro by Amancio Prada and Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov recently set Lúa descolorida in the original Galego to a haunting accompaniment alongside a poem by Emily Dickinson in the same song sequence. Shearsman publish Selected poems by Michael Smith (2007) but more of Follas Novas (New leaves) can be found in Aldaz, Gantt and Bromley's translation (SUNY 1991).

Without a nest

Through hills and fields
trackways and on the coast
they glimpse a white dove
alone in twisted branches.

Following his poor cries
earthbound and tired
with no food,
they offer only kisses.

His feathers stained
which once were white
so very low
on shot-down wings.

Oh poor dove, once
so dear and so white.
Where did your spirit err?
And your love? Where has it gone?

Rosalía de Castro 1837 – 1885 (translated by Bridget Khursheed first published in The Journal No.23)

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