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a word written all in capitals

5 Jun

Further Question

Why do I ask where you are

if I’m not blind

and you’re not absent?


If I see you

go and come,

you, your tall body

ending in a voice

as a flame ends in smoke

in the air, untouchable.


And I ask you, yes,

and I ask you

what you’re made of

and whose you are

and you open your arms

and show me

the tall image of yourself

and say it’s mine.


And I go on asking, forever.

(Pedro Salinas, 1891-1951, Madrid. In W.S. Merwin, Selected Translations 1968-1978. New York: Atheneum, 1979, 17.)


A man spells out his tiredness.

All at once as he spells

he meets some strange capital letters,

unexpectedly alone,

unexpectedly tall.

They weigh more on the tongue.

They weigh more but they get away

faster and hardly

can they be spoken.

His heart crowds into the roads

where death is exploding.

And he meets, as he goes on spelling,

bigger and bigger capital letters.

And a great fear chokes him

of finding a word

written all in capitals

and not being able to pronounce it.

(Roberto Juarroz, 1925-1995, Argentina. Ibid., 35.)