Silvina Ocampo (New York Review Books Poets)
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Silvina Ocampo possessed her own special enchantment as a poet, and only now is her extraordinary poetic achievement becoming more widely recognized beyond Latin America.
Remarkably, this is the first collection of Ocampo’s poetry to appear in English. From her early sonnets on the native Argentine landscape, to her meditations on love’s travails, to her explorations of the kinship between plant and animal realms, to her clairvoyant inquiries into history and myth and memory, readers will find the full range of Ocampo’s “metaphysical lyricism” (The Independent) represented in this groundbreaking edition.
lost, what nocturnal songs, what joys of darkness, of murmuring flights not of light in the memory. These trees are also mortal: in the ancient language of plants they spoke to the most sentient beings, to those who were happy, to the sorrowful, to those who contemplated in their leaves the complicated face of love. Torches, domes of the stars, swings for the birds, the elves, deep tabernacles of the breezes, columns of the moon, casuarinas, eucalyptuses benign and tortured that
Celestial Yellow (Amarillo celeste, 1972) In Every Direction We go leaving ourselves in every direction, in beds, in rooms, in fields, in seas, in cities, and each one of those fragments that is no longer us, keeps being us as always, making us jealous and hostile. “What will it do that I would like to do?” we think. “Who will it see that I would like to see?” We often receive chance news of that creature... We enter its dreams when it dreams of us, loving it like those whom we
leave the luminous dwelling where they live, to attack us or protect us or pervert us. A heavenly, diabolical court has attended to me since as far back as I can remember: when my nanny Celestina buttoned her housecoat (it’s true she was dyeing her hair and to surprise her I snuck up beside her reflection) four dragonflies fluttered out from where she was reflected announcing rain, one grazed my cheek; they followed me constantly, or followed her, and disappeared upon her death
a prostitute; the lion, the monkey, the angel, the fish into a garden; four children playing tag, into a beach. With the vicissitudes of time or by chance in the canvas of a picture appears another painting that was the original—like our memories! Vanity of Vanities We live for a house we won’t be able to build, for a voyage we won’t take, and for a book we’ll never get to write; like a drawing traced upon a page too narrow to make room for the entire plan. Nocturne Houses dream
they are boats at night in the wind and darkness and rain. Perplexity Why do I always think when I kneel down to pray, “What are my feet doing now?” Complete Forgetfulness Complete forgetfulness hands us the keys to the most inextricable secrets. If we lose something, we should look at once for something else: right away what we were looking for will appear multiplied by what we are looking for now. We find something, yes, but, oh disenchantment, what we were looking for until