ANSELMI, Luigi:
Some poems

Tearful dolphins that leap even on dry ground
Seagulls lost in the desert
White ravens and black doves
Glow worms that burn even at midday
Butterflies with wings of ashes
An ill-fated worm that will never become a butterfly
A foolish fly sleeping calmly in a spiderweb
A solitary spider that lights
endless nights of dark corners as if it were a star
Cruel sheep and docile wolves
All these together form
the zoo illogical park of my dreams...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Zoo ilogikoa (Zoo illogical) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1985.



I would have liked
to live
without closing doors.
To see
the comings and goings of my friends
throughout my house.

I would have liked
to build
a house without walls.
To read my books
in the light of the sun.
And to count stars
instead of sheep
to go to sleep.

But I left
my door open
and thieves came in
to steal my treasures.

I took the walls out of my house
and the ceiling fell,
crushing everything.

That?s why,
even though
I love people from all over.

Even though
I understand
my neighbors? languages.
Even though
I have always hated war with all my being,
I will not
do away
with the borders of my country.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Zoo ilogikoa (Zoo illogical) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1985.



You are not going today
tonight
when the frontiers of solitude
are removed...
You are not going today...
Let us pretend
we didn't see the stars;
let us close our eyes
looking at the sky
as if the sun had blinded us;
let us remain side by side.
Early in the morning we will realize
the moon
the reflection of our smile
was only
in the mirror of the sky...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Zoo ilogikoa(Zoo illogical) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1985.



Fables of the uncity

The city is a vicious poison, laced with
innumerable black roots; a tangled labyrinth
whose crossing streets bind us
to our daily obligations.

But all labyrinths have an exit
somewhere, and a tender Ariadne who can help us,
like she helped Theseus, to find it.

The only exit from the city is night, and
through it we flee toward exile or rather,
toward desire...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Desiriko alegiak (Fables of the Uncity) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1988.



As Spring went deeper
into the maze of the city
the beautiful bouquet of flowers
she carried
in her hands
withered.
The river was
a festering wound.
No grey dove feathers
were seen
on the muddy rocks.
And Spring
wandered aimlessly
through the grey streets;
all the intersections
were grey walls.
Suddenly there appeared
before her
a black hole
that grew slowly.
"Could this possibly be
the tunnel that will lead me
to freedom?"
thought Spring
as she entered it...
The hole was the night,
and it finally swallowed
the city whole...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Desiriko alegiak (Fables of the Uncity) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1988.



The sweetness of wine

Minister Vetulli puer Falerni
inger mi calices amariores
ut lex Postumiae iubet magistrae
ebrioso acino ebriosioris.
at vos quo lubet hinc abite, lymphae,
vini pernicies, et ad severos
migrate, hic merus est Thyonianus.

Cat., XXVII

Wandering in search of wine,
I found you.
Since then, of your lips
oh, how much I have drunk!

In the greatest heat
and in the cold of snow
you extinguish the fire
that scorches me from within.

My liver is intact
but my heart is near death.
I am endlessly thirsty,
winter and summer.

You are thirsty endlessly,
you, just like me.
But my body is for you
an earthenware jug of wine.

Here and there together
we walk side by side
longing to drink each other
in a kiss.

Drunken days and nights
are our life now
drinking and drinking,
so the hangover will never come.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Bacchabunda. Catulus-en omenez (Bacchabunda. Homage to Catulus) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1992.



(...) unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae donarunt Veneres Cupidenesque, quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum

Cat., XIII

Last night in our resting place,
lying there alone,
I caught the scent
of the old, sweet perfume
we had together.
And consumed by nostalgia,
sleep took me
already, so safely,
to a dream
you had most likely forgotten.
And we were together
again,
until
the dawn
that at first
announced
happiness
took me
mercilessly
to solitude again.
And with tears in my eyes,
sick with reminiscence,
I began to write
these verses
that one day, perhaps,
the eyes
-cold as a slug-
of a heartless stranger
who could understand nothing
will cover with slime.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Bacchabunda. Catulus-en omenez (Bacchabunda. Homage to Catulus) Pamiela, Pamplona, 1992.



In praise of humility

But if
life
is a parenthesis
in the middle of eternity,
what difference does it make
if the few words inside us
are written
in capital or lower-case letters?

We come from nothing
and soon return,
when this tiny circle
closes...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gure ametsen gerizan (In the Shade of Our Dreams) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2000.



The future

In the broken mirror
of a muddy stream,
the shimmering image
of a large crane.

Beside it,
a quiet old factory
long since
emptied.

A cracked eggshell.

The chick
we hoped for
was not born of it,

only this dead bird
rusty with time...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Antarctica

That strong continent of the past
sank into forgetfulness
as if
into a dark ocean.

Today only a few scattered islands
are seen on the sea,
a few scarce islands still alive.

The foam of nostalgia
tightens hard
around their thin waists.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Only a few centuries
Have passed since
Man conquered
The world and
Our dark star
Lies forgotten
In a dark corner
Of the boundless garbage dump
Of the blue sky
Like a dirty Pandora's box
Falling to pieces.
An old box
Without a lid,
Full of holes,
Where nothing now remains,
Not even hope...

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Peace

One day, perhaps,
when David's star goes out,
or like a child's pencils,
its sharp ends
suddenly lose
their points...

(Or perhaps I should say
when the constellations of false stars
that wander proudly
through the multicolored sky of flags
are extinguished?)

When the waxing moon, in its silent caravan,
reaches the far side of the
cruel desert of the night and,
as sweetly as a sugar cube,
dissolves in the
blue morning light.

The day, finally, when fire will scorch
the cross and all the gallows.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



And perhaps we too were born
before time,
in January,
the snow suddenly receding
like a
Japanese camellia?
a perfect rose
without a thorn.

For even in the dead of winter
the southern wind sometimes blows
and its tender lips
repeat
over and over
the sweet words whispered
long ago
by the serpent in Paradise.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



How to compare ourselves
with Ulysses?
True, we also wander
lost, aimlessly,
but already we have no memory
of the old port from which we set off.
The dubious gifts
of our presumably clear and cultured mind
won or lost cities for no one
and, holding tight to the rudder
of our cowardice, we move forward slowly,
barely dodging
the Cyclops and Sirens
that appear on our way...

We do not know where Ithaca is
nor when we will arrive
at that last island.
Indeed, it is well known
that almost no one wants to moor
his boat to its dark quay.

But we know that it is inevitable.

Fortunately, the raging sea
also hides
unexpected islands
where, from time to time,
those shipwrecked like us
gather to share
their scant provisions.
Then foggy memories
and happy convivial laughter
rise from their bellies,
soon to be forgotten,
once they return to their fragile boats,
and set off
into the doubtful future
in a heavy fog of dreams and nostalgia.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Old age

The worst thing about old age is not the wrinkles,
the loose teeth, the cracked memory
-or on the other hand, it doesn't matter-
nor this pain in the bones
that seizes us suddenly on damp mornings.

The worst thing about old age is not the nostalgia
that torments from within
nor death, taking aim
more and more precisely.

Nor the arrogant young faces
that refuse
even a cheap smile
to the sad eyes
that plead so humbly
on the street corner.

Though all of this is bad,
nothing is worse
than the cruel scorn of the gods...

Why would they have forgotten,
like a broken alarm clock,
to call us at the right time?

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



The poet and the rain

The poet
returns to old words
every night
like the rain
comes again
to parched city streets,
wiping and smoothing
rough, powdery cheeks,
and gives back to these old stones
the shine lost to time,
with the sweetness
of soft old music.

In the dark mirror of the wet floor
the blurred faces of the dead
and dreams
-broken toys piled
in the small, old attic
of memory-
emerge
and before them
the poet stops briefly
looking at himself with nostalgia
and tries in vain,
with trembling fingers,
at least a little,
to comb his tangled hair.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Fugit irreparabile tempus... and leaves behind
no footprint but
respite or nostalgia.

Summer is dying and we
(swallows without wings)
are returning home,
to boring
old nests.
Autumn
crunches
under our feet
already,
like the crust
of fresh bread.

Like a black and white ribbon
borne by
the wind,
the highway
flees the rolling mountains;
it flees,
like a thick wine,
the white houses
whose chimneys
pour white smoke endlessly
into the immense goblet of the sky,
until, full to the brim,
the glass
spills over.

And like the unwieldy
pendulum
of an old clock,
the windshield wipers
try
slowly and crudely
to pierce
the mist of the future.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Solitude

We are consumed by the desire
for solitude
and worship it
as if it were a beautiful goddess,
radiant,
even knowing
that her apparition, total, terrible,
would be unbearable.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Gau ertzekoak (Extreme Nights) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2004.



Cesare Pavese

The mornings pass
clear and empty. That's how
you opened your eyes
once. The morning
went slowly,
in an immoveable whirlpool of light. Silently.
You too, silent, alive. Things
alive behind your eyes
(no pain, no fever, no shadow)
clear like the sea at the break of dawn.

Wherever you are, my light, is morning.
You are life and things.
The waking breath we breathed in you
under the sky that lives on in us.
No pain, no fever then,
nor that heavy shadow of the crowded, varied day.
Oh light, distant clarity,
shortness of breath, turn your
clear immoveable eyes to us.
Dark and dreary is the morning
without the light of your eyes.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Bertzerenak (The Poems of Others) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2006.



Fernando Pessoa

CHRISTMAS

One god is born. Others are dying. The truth
did not come or go: error changed.
We have a different Eternity now
and what already happened was always better.

Science works the fruitless land blindly.
Insane faith lives the dream of its worship.
A new god is nothing but a word.
Do not seek, do not believe, for everything is hidden.

© Anselmi, Luigi. Bertzerenak (The Poems of Others) Pamiela, Pamplona, 2006.



© Translation: Kristin Addis