Friday, March 9, 2012

Literatura y Espanol

Mike and Jaume Up River

I should be writing this in Spanish, but no voy a hacerlo.

Jaume, one of the exchange students, came down to help Mike for a couple days last week. Jaume's family is from Murcia in Southern Spain.

Jaume and Mestizo

One evening Jaume and I read a Borges story out-loud to each other. It was El Jardin de senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of the forked paths ), from one of the books his parents sent him.

The language of the story was dense, with sentences like tree roots grown together. It was also savory, the sounds meaty on my tongue.

Standing there in the kitchen, I had to tell Jaume this house was where I fell in love with Spanish.
Watching the three dogs cross the steers over the bridge

Thirty years ago our friend Little Duke Phillips moved here from Old Mexico with his library of books in Spanish, some translated, some not. Mike and I spent a month in his house, working on contract to build a big hay bunk out of railroad ties. In the evenings, after the kids were in bed, I'd go through Little Duke's books.

It was Neruda the Chilean poet who got to me. Even the translation was achingly beautiful. I knew the original poems on the opposite page were better and that made me sad and a little angry, because I couldn't read them.
Boots off at the end of the day
Now, after years of study, teaching, reading, dreaming, my Spanish is lonely. It's mostly books that keep it company. 

Jaume and I didn't speak much Spanish while he was there, but when he read, I could hear in his voice a tremor of heat, dryness, a little dust. And when I read, my voice carried the hint of warm currents rising upward along the Andes.

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef