The First Book of the Corner Shop [1] – by Carles Riba

A chimera have you made the elusive grace
of a wish and now you are deserted, oh mind.
Oh solitude bereft of gentle thought
and mad procession without living word!

Yet what is done, if in your sweet oblivion
enduring, restless angst goes deeper and deeper?
Even now, the joy upon the flesh does cease,
bearing the announcement of a song unsaid.

And he is holy fire setting your eternal flux
upon the ashes of your lament;
peace is not your wish for void eternal, oh mind,
Oh fool that dared to glimpse yourself uncloaked.

Carles Riba (1893-1959)

Note: this poem originally rhymed (abba, cddc, eaae, as you can see below). I hold up my hands and say I found it just too hard to translate AND rhyme this time round. I might have another crack at it in time, but hopefully you can enjoy my translation anyway!

————————————————————————————

Original Catalan text

[1] – Del ‘Llibre Primer d’Estances’ – per Carles Riba

T’ha enquimerat la gràcia fugitiva
d’un desig i ara ets deserta, oh ment.
Ai soledat sense dolç pensament
i foll traüt sense paraula viva!
Però ¿què hi fa, si dins el teu oblit
la inquietud pregonament perdura?
Encara el goig sobre la carn s’atura,
duent l’anunci d’algun cant no dit.
I ell és el foc sagrat que et perpetua
damunt les cendres del desolament;
no vulguis calma en ton oblit, oh ment,
oh folla que has gosat mirar-te nua.

(Text sourced from: http://lletra.uoc.edu/especials/folch/riba.htm)

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