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This report is taken from PN Review 75, Volume 17 Number 1, September - October 1990.

Carlos Barral: A Tribute in Translation Anthony Edkins
Carlos Barral, who died in the middle of December, 1989, was born in 1928 in Barcelona. 'One of the masters of post-war Spanish poetry' according to one Spanish critic, Carlos Barral was more recently known as a writer of memoirs: the third volume of his autobiography, entitled Cuando las horas veloces, was published in 1988. He was also a well-known public figure; one of the founders of the very influential Barcelona publishing house, Seix Barral, which was largely responsible for launching the Latin-American literary 'boom' in Europe; a post-Franco Socialist Senator in both the Spanish and European Parliaments; and a yachtsman.

The translations are from Usuras y figuraciones: Poesía 1952-1972.

STANZAS ON THE CONVENIENCE OF PAINTING THE BEAMS BLUE

(in a bedroom facing the sea)
         ... adorn bodies ...



It would be like an extended, fluted sky
which the highest strata of the wind sweep,
a colder shadow crossing
the agressive shadow of August siestas
in your rounded eyes.

Like the roots of some unending water
which persists in bodies under burning skin,
drawing close to us again and moistening the silence.
Like a small fringed cloud at sea,
one that could make our love adventurous -
almost adulterous perhaps - that could make
the curve of your belly darker
in the nerves of dawn
                        when it supports
that other, denser blue, and we don't ...


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