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S.J. Pearce

II. Written While Translating
Jack Spicer’s “Alba”

Alba de Federico García Lorca

—Por Jack Spicer

Ni un brote de hierba
saldría del velo terrenal

si fuera tu mano insensata
fácil de leer, de besar—

No, dije yo. Lee tú esta
hoja y, como la tierra,

quédate ahí mientras que
cubre el césped la sombra

y el rocío.





—After Jack Spicer


No blade of grass could
emerge from the veil of the earth

were your insensate hand
easy to read or to kiss— 

No, I said. You: read
this leaf; like the earth


stay here with me

while shadow and dew
cover the grass.



or, Aubade in Washington Square Park


—After Jack Spicer


I don’t write poems in parks
but this park, where no blade

of grass but that grass emerges
from the paved-over graveyard

where chalk auguries survive
the dew, the rain, the dancing

in the fountain: wet covers
of Stravinsky and of Queen.

An easy thing to do: I mis-take
this park, your city, for prophecy.

You caution me here at night
as if it were a real park, green,

fleeting, perilous, and true;
and not a mis-named plaza

full of shades and shadows you
capture graphically while I hold

the book you wrote and re-read:
my unneeded shield until daybreak.

Your black-and-white New York and mine
become traces of ash in epochal change.

Read me, read me reading you,
before we change our minds.

Read these leaves and these leaves.
Kiss my insensate hand before it notices         (and le

I don’t command the imperative but
I want you to stay here with me.

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