MESSAGE OF LOVE FROM VALDEMAR GRIS
by Miguel Labordeta
From my own man sadness
wrenched out in bits of bitter blood
by useless youth
and put together, kneaded, by the missing thirst
of restless multitudes
vainly seeking reasons
for the death throes of the buffalo
under twilights of uranium
along wide avenues
living in this world
an ancient child, 25 dry rivers old,
bring this modest springtime message to you
and I tell you, the happiness of stars in my eyes,
all young people in the world, we are brothers.
We are children of the sun and mystery.
One woman, human,
sang the same sweet songs to us
believing she would see a sign
transcending alphabets and races
at the edges of our tender bellies
to inundate the countries of the earth
with the clarity foreshown
by great and shaken geniuses
longing to be realized
over all the tumult
Because I tell you
man to man
and almost sobbing
(with the magic anguish of the telegraph):
Now is the hour
my brothers in life and in death,
now is the hour
when the pure martyr rises
over sterile and trivial disputes
of the old
from naked chests
of youthful dreamers of the world.
I tell you
my little brothers in this destiny
dreaming yes but wide awake
so we can see the falling
ash of rotting hearts
raining down on all great cities
young orphans all destroyed on plan.
And we must be alert
for in a careless moment
and men, devouring themselves
in their wretched clans,
will end up eating off their feet
like wolves committing suicide.
Let’s forget my friends
my brothers of the world forget
the silly disputations of the old.
Let them fill their books with the useless reasons of the dead!
We only want to see the triumph
of the glory and the nothingness of life
from all around the compass of the planetary wind!
We want our destiny as men
to go the way of suns and shores
and cities wondrous with glass
and darkling girls
on beaches singing
and despairing thinkers
intent on weaving roots with stars
and poet engineers who sing
the dreadful gloom of concrete
gobbling up the hearts of roses
and athletes serene
with the water’s harmonies
and the flaming hearts of saints
discovering the way
in their total passion.
But we must be united
my friends my brothers of the world
and so our burning bond must be
a secret human destiny
of loving consciousness of Earth.
so alone with love
so alone with virile love
pure in itself
in love with love
lovers of the world’s great vastness
without presence in its mystery
that it calls us, inexorably, tremblingly
in every pulse beat of young dreamers.
And we must be there
we must be there
demanding each and all
in the multi-varied symphony of this wonder of a world of ours.
This I tell you, I
thirsty wanderer of light
worn out from adolescent tunnels
where roots are strangled upward by the stalks of grain:
We, the young,
are brothers in this destiny
with breaking voice
from ancient weeping unconsoled
with happiness renewed
by future stars in my eyes.
Mensaje de Amor de Valdemar Gris
Translated by Will Kirkland
Labordeta (1921-1969) had already passed on when I lived in Spain, but he was one of the poets I read and enjoyed most — out of a wildly rich choice of fine poets. His surrealistic imagery and passionate calls to the children caught my attention. I translated a dozen or so of his poems, but couldn’t get American journals interested when they had Lorca, Alberti and many from the younger group from the 5os to choose from. Too bad.