All Of Us, Castellers – by Salvador Espriu

‘Castellers’ are the participants in a Catalan cultural phenomenon known as ‘Castells’ (Castles). This amazing tradition, begun in the 18th Century, involves teams of representatives from Catalan towns and villages competing against each other in the assembling and deassembling of incredible human towers. The tower is complete when the ‘enxaneta’ (almost always a tiny child as young as five years old) raises into the air four fingers, in a gesture said to be symbolic of the four streaks of the Catalan flag. Check out this video showing Castellers in action in Vilafranca, a Catalan town famous for its Casteller group.

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All of Us, Castellers

They raise up towers
in half-erased vestiges
of dances deathly.
They knock on the doors
of oblivion. They free
light, and wings, and air.
Oh naked beauty,
name alone over number,
festal explosion.
We desire strength
within an order perfect
of exact measure.
In complete balance,
slowly upward we arise
as castles of dreams.
Oh Sense, could we not
forever shelter ourselves
within your refuge?
As upright beggars,
with neither tears nor terror
we come to princes.
Persons, the stature
of worlds. We break silences,
victories and voids.
We are united
underneath the splendorous
peace of a long day.
To serve the only
lord that we all have chosen:
our lord, our people.

Salvador Espriu (1913-1985)

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Original Catalan Text:

‘Nosaltres Tots, Castellers’

S’aixequen torres
en esborrats vestigis
de mortes danses.

Truquen a portes
d’oblit. Desempresonen
llum, ales, aire.

Nua bellesa,
nom sol enllà del nombre,
esclat de festa.

Volem la força
dins l’ordre perfectíssim
de la mesura.

En equilibri,
molt lentament ens alcen
castells de somnis.

Seny, no podríem
acollir-nos per sempre
al teu refugi?

Dreçats captaires,
sense plors ni temença
venim a prínceps.

Homes, la mida
del món, rompem silencis,
triomfs, abismes.

Agermanem-nos
sota l’esplendorosa
pau d’un llarg dia.

Per servir l’únic
senyor que tots triàvem:
el nostre poble.

(Text sourced from: http://www.xtec.cat/~evicioso/index.htm)