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This report is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

A Translation and a Tribute Anthony Rudolf
Empty House
Ernesto López-Parra translated by Anthony Rudolf

The house is full of absence.
The spider’s web of memory
hangs down from all the ceilings.

In the windows’ urn
nightingales of silence
are imprisoned.

Sleeping preludes await
the hour of return.

Shadow’s dust
clings to the cloths
on the walls.

In the stopped clock
the minutes have committed suicide.



The Translator Addresses Borges
(Variation on the theme of the poem) Anthony Rudolf

Your presence overflows
with memories
of lost memories.

Your prelude
embraces your coda.
Your shadow

clings to your shadow.
Your mind
is the footprint of your mind.

In the clock of you
the minute hand
holds the hour hand,

for all
time: you have
my word for it.

Translator’s note (2013): I found this unpublished translation of a poem by Ernesto López-Parra (1895–1941) in a folder unopened for about forty years. Attached to the poem is a note to myself saying I translated the Spanish original from a French version. Borges included the poem in an article on the Ultraísmo movement, which I must have found in a French magazine, now vanished.  

Postscript (2014): I dedicate the translation (and my variation on it) to the memory of the poet and translator Daniel Weissbort, my friend for nearly fifty years. Thanks ...


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