C. Buddingh’ – “The Hyena” – Translated from the Dutch By Matthew Ryan Shelton (2016)

Empirical Science has often shown
a reputation up: the old Egyptians
held him in high esteem, and Pliny held that the stone
he carried in his eye, the hyena,
laid under the tongue, would grant him sight, into the future.
Alas,
all he carries in his eye is a cockeyed look of hunger and alabandical brass.
His eyes go yellow, having gorged himself on what leopard or what lion left him.
He’s a tricky fucker, a grave robber.
Nothing more.
Nothing more? In the rst circus I ever saw
was a cackle of hyenas. What
it meant I never knew: but a man or a woman
must have put up with them, must have cared for,
must have spoken to, have fed, caressed, have loved them, even.
Maybe.
It seems to me an odd hobby, traveling around
with a troupe-trained bunch of cadaverers: something like
renting a room to an undertaker
while dozens of beautiful girls beg for shelter.
And anyway: even the scum of the earth wouldn’t choose his e gy
for emblem.
His photo is before me: a fawning sycophantic head, tail slavishly between the legs, half bent
to ee or to accost, a bearing weaned
of every pride or grace —— and yet, as his look trans xes mine, I growl:
“So, cousin!”

Original text:

C. Buddingh’
“De Hyena”

Empirische wetenschap laat van reputaties
dikwijls weinig heel: de oude Egyptenaren
vereerden hem hoog, en nog Plinius hield vol dat de steen
die hij meedragen zou in zijn oog, de hyaenia,
als hij onder de tong werd gelegd in de toekomst deed schouwen.
Helaas,
wat hij in zijn oog meedraagt is enkel een loensende blik
van vraatzucht en achterbakse opdringerigheid;
geel glanst zijn iris, ja: wanneer hij zich volschrokt
met wat luipaard of wat leeuw aan aas voor hem achterliet. Een gluiperige bietser is hij, een lijkenopgraver,
meer niet,
Meer niet? in het eerste circus dat ik ooit zag,
(Amar), was ook een hyena-nummer, wat
het inhield weet ik niet meer: maar een man of een vrouw moet met ze zijn opgetrokken, ze hebben verzorgd, toegesproken, tee ten gegeven, geaaid, liefgehad zelfs
misschien.
Het lijkt me een vreemde hobby, rond te reizen
met een troep gedresseerde kadaveropruimers: zo iets
al een kamer verhuren aan een begrafenisdienaar,
terwijl tientallen mooie meisjes om onderdrak vragen.
En daarbij: zelfs de ergste beul koos zijn beeltenis niet graag
tot embleem.
Zijn foto ligt voor me: een kruiperig-inkennige kop,
de staart slaafs tussen de poten, half gekromd
om te vluchten of toe te sluipen, een houding gespeend van iedere erheid of gratie — en toch, als zijn blik
zich zalvend aan de mijne vastzuigt, grom ik:
‘Zo, neef!’

This translation first appeared in the 2016 edition of Long River Review

“The Blood Shed”

translation by Ana Arriaga (2015)

Spanish
LA SANGRE DERRAMADA

¡Que no quiero verla!

Dile a la luna que venga,

que no quiero ver la sangre

de Ignacio sobre la arena.

¡Que no quiero verla!

La luna de par en par.

Caballo de nubes quietas,

y la plaza gris del sueño

con sauces en las barreras.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Que mi recuerdo se quema.

¡Avisad a los jazmines

con su blancura pequeña!

¡Que no quiero verla!

La vaca del viejo mundo

pasaba su triste lengua

sobre un hocico de sangres

derramadas en la arena,

y los toros de Guisando,

casi muerte y casi piedra,

mugieron como dos siglos

hartos de pisar la tierra.

No.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Por las gradas sube Ignacio

con toda su muerte a cuestas.

Buscaba el amanecer,

y el amanecer no era.

Busca su perfil seguro,

y el sueño lo desorienta.

Buscaba su hermoso cuerpo

y encontró su sangre abierta.

¡No me digáis que la vea!

No quiero sentir el chorro

cada vez con menos fuerza;

ese chorro que ilumina

los tendidos y se vuelca

sobre la pana y el cuero

de muchedumbre sedienta.

¡Quién me grita que me asome!

¡No me digáis que la vea!

No se cerraron sus ojos

cuando vio los cuernos cerca,

pero las madres terribles

levantaron la cabeza.

Y a través de las ganaderías,

hubo un aire de voces secretas

que gritaban a toros celestes

mayorales de pálida niebla.

No hubo príncipe en Sevilla

que comparársele pueda,

ni espada como su espada

ni corazón tan de veras.

Como un río de leones

su maravillosa fuerza,

y como un torso de mármol

su dibujada prudencia.

Aire de Roma andaluza

le doraba la cabeza

donde su risa era un nardo

de sal y de inteligencia.

¡Qué gran torero en la plaza!

¡Qué buen serrano en la sierra!

¡Qué blando con las espigas!

¡Qué duro con las espuelas!

¡Qué tierno con el rocío!

¡Qué deslumbrante en la feria!

¡Qué tremendo con las últimas

banderillas de tiniebla!

Pero ya duerme sin fin.

Ya los musgos y la hierba

abren con dedos seguros

la flor de su calavera.

Y su sangre ya viene cantando:

cantando por marismas y praderas,

resbalando por cuernos ateridos,

vacilando sin alma por la niebla,

tropezando con miles de pezuñas

como una larga, oscura, triste lengua,

para formar un charco de agonía

junto al Guadalquivir de las estrellas.

¡Oh blanco muro de España!

¡Oh negro toro de pena!

¡Oh sangre dura de Ignacio!

¡Oh ruiseñor de sus venas!

No.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Que no hay cáliz que la contenga,

que no hay golondrinas que se la beban,

no hay escarcha de luz que la enfríe,

no hay canto ni diluvio de azucenas,

no hay cristal que la cubra de plata.

No.

¡¡Yo no quiero verla!!

English
THE BLOOD SHED

I don’t want to see it!

Tell the moon to come,

that I don’t want to see the blood

of Ignacio on the sand.

I said I don’t want to see it!

The wide moon.

Horse of quiet clouds,

and the grey plaza of sleep

with willow along the barriers.

I don’t want to see it!

I hope that my memory burns.

Alert the jasmine flowers, so small and white.

I said I don’t want to see it!

The cow from the old world

passes his sad tongue over a muzzle covered in the spilled blood pooled on the sand.

And Guisando’s bulls, almost dead and almost stone, mooed as if they were fed up

spending two centuries walking the earth.

No.

I said I don’t want to see it.

Ignacio climbs the stairs with Death on his back.

He sought the sunrise, but sunrise it was not.

He finds his stable silhouette

and the dream disoriented him.

He sought his beautiful body and

found his spilt blood.

Don’t tell me to look at it!

I don’t want to feel that blow,

every passing time with less force;

this flash that illuminates those laying on the ground

and falls over the corduroy and leather of the thirsty crowd.

Who yells for me to show my face?

Don’t tell me to look at the blood

His eyes didn’t close when he saw the horns getting closer,

while the terrible mothers lift their heads.

And through the livestock there was

an air of secret voices that yelled at celestial animals, the overseers of the pale fog.

There was no prince in Seville with who you could compare him,

nor a sword like his sword,

nor a truer heart,

his marvelous strength was like a river of lions,

and his decorated wisdom, like a torso of marble.

Air from Andalusian Rome adorned

his head in gold where his smile was a block of salt and of intelligence.

What a great bullfighter in the ring!

What a good ham from the mountains!

How dull the spikes are!

How hard the spurs are!

How tender the dew!

How dazzling the fair!

How enormous with the small flag of darkness!

But already he sleeps with no end.

Already the moss and the grass open up

the flower that is his skull with sure fingers.

And his blood already comes to me singing;

singing for salt marshes and prairies,

slipping on frozen horns,

flickering without a sould through the fog,

stumbling over thousands of hooves like

a long, black, sad tongue to form a puddle of

agony alongside the river Guadalquivir of the stars.

Oh white wall of Spain!

Oh black bull of pain!

Oh harsh blood of Ignacio!

No.

I don’t want to see it!

There is no chalice that can contain the blood,

there are no swallows that will drink it,

there is no frosted light that’ll make it cold,

there is no song nor flood of white lilies,

there is no goblet that could cover it in silver.

No.

I don’t want to see it.

Ana Arriaga is a sophomore who is majoring in Spanish with a minor in linguistics.​ She enjoys reading Spanish literature and poetry, especially the works of her favorite poet, Federico García Lorca. Ana hopes to one day work as a translator or interpreter.

She writes of the piece, “My father is from the Basque region of Spain. This region of Spain was one of Franco’s big targets during the Spanish Civil War. García Lorca draws inspiration from the war in many of his poems and was a strong voice against Franco.”