Del río hondo aquí / Elizabeth Schön

Born in Caracas in 1921, Elizabeth Schön's poetry is distinguished by its mystical and philosophical tendencies. Schön's collection Del río hondo aquí was published in 2000 under her own editorial imprint, Editorial Diosa Blanca. Last summer, the Semana de la Poesía (a week-long series of lectures, readings and conferences in Caracas) was dedicated to her work.

I want to thank my friend the poet Yelimar Becerra for lending me her copy (autographed!) of Del río hondo aquí, from which the following four translations are based.


From the Deep River Here (excerpts)

"Ah del río completo"

Ah, the complete river
with Andromeda between prows
and Ulysses between his anchors!

"Hay un río semejante al cielo"

There's a river resembling the sky
at the bottom of the mountain
Upriver, in the tree and summit
and another, likewise, in the dream
dream of beings

"Ágil el alma"

The soul is agile
if it follows the inimitable spaces
of those golds, those blues
ready to rescue the ephemeral in our origin

"Ángeles opacos en la extension"

Opaque angels on the landscape
blue reflections from an above
equally blue over waters
The afternoon, the day
The tracks wait for dark
The gold has a strange skin like sable

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