Metafísica de los sueños / Cantórbery Cuevas

Dream Metaphysics

For R.C. with respect and affection

It has happened to me at least: I’m dreaming a succession of different episodes in visual images (I think); and suddenly a verse appears, les pieds dans les glaïeules, il dort, let’s say. I intuit these are words that chance randomly places in the events I’m experiencing as vividly as if I were awake: a war. I pay them no mind. But around me suddenly – not before or after, I understand a posteriori – instants of that violent and imprecise whirlpool appear and dissolve, return and multiply around those words. And not just facts and anguish, but other verses as well take shape prolifically in the hidden poem I already knew, without knowing it in the dream: smiling as a sick child would smile, he is dreaming. It seems that the war, which is being waged in a great city, has to do, in the inscrutable manner of those cases, with the Paris Commune. When I awake, the sonnet is completely finished, and I begin to suspect that in their oneiric rationality things happen on the margins of time, or that before and after are interchangeable. However it might be, Rimbaud’s Le dormeur du val ends with a young soldier laid out on the grass, two red holes on his right flank, dating from 1872. It was already there a long time before I went to sleep.

* * * * *

Furthermore. While torturously sleeping the other night, I received a terrifying, ancient confession, which had once been memorized then forgotten, I belonged to a town of big snake eaters. The nightmare flowed opprobriously, and suddenly those and the following words burst in. Or, as I was saying just now, it could have been the reverse, as in the Bible, first the word and starting from and surrounding it, aimlessly riding, the nighttime mare. Or all of it together. In any case, that incubus included a scorching desert landscape without end. And majestic ruins, and sensuous, vehement, silent beings (maybe, as well, suitable for going crazy from love) who were walking. Laconic and parsimonious, those troglodytes who were of course none other than those who had arrived from beyond the Egypt river and drunk from the creek of those who never die: “gray-skinned, naked men, with negligent beards (...); I wasn’t surprised they didn’t speak and devoured serpents.” (One of them, the one who followed the narrator Joseph Cartaphilus to the City of the Immortals, turned out to be a forgetful and exhausted Homer, according to the enigmatic manuscript, which I reread before or after the nightmare, it doesn’t matter.)

My poem arrives sadly amid great explosions of sand (Los cuadernos del destierro, 1960)
I expand myself in a white vastness (Falsas maniobras, 1966)
I make myself slowly, to the conscious gesture, to the desert’s rumor (ibid, 1966)

Could it be Rafael Cadenas once drank from that dark creek?

{ Cantórbery Cuevas, Tal Cual, 23 October 2008 }

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