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S.J. Pearce

I. Written While Translating Lorca’s
“Juan Ramón Jiménez”


I know few words for seaweed:
kelp, seaweed, and little else.

Living with it, all I need
is deixis and description:

Look at that kind of kelp
and that kind of kelp,

the ropey kind with bulbs,
the kind with flat, broad leaves,

the yellowish, fungus-like kelp, and
the kind that might be a jellyfish.

Kombu, nori, salicornia, but
I have no taste for a salad of sea.

In Spanish, just one word—algas
I learned cooking, not beachcombing.

Lorca’s nardo, then,
I meet first in a book

and we dance with its leaves
wrapped around my legs.

My shame is not knowing
the names of these things;

and I am one who loves the sea.

Juan Ramón Jiménez

Here, Saint Jerome.
Here, Juan Ramón.

Salt and seaweed,
white and green

Paloma, paloma, paloma
Pigeon, popping corn, dove

Paloma, paloma, paloma
Green, white, in-finite

Paloma, paloma, paloma
Sing: cucurru, pop!

Lorca writes: verde
que te quiero verde.

Spicer translates: verde
que te quiero verde.

Not Sam, green eggs and ham
but huevos verdes con jamón

Here, Juan Ramón.
Here, Saint Jerome.

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