Just wanted to post this one

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Just wanted to post this one

Postby dks » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:40 pm

In doing the research for my paper, I was reading again about Alice Jennings--the wonderful grandmother Keats had...made me want to post my paean to mine...anyone who doesn't speak Spanish-let me know--I'll translate the phrases.


An Invocation

The kitchen is thick
With the smell of cumin and cooking oil,
An old lazy susan is crowned with sweets
Stuffed in open tin foil.

I pull up my chair and eat the sugar caps
Off the mountains of pan dulces.

I’m allowed in this fortress,
Where the Delphi center
Is mi tia’s small, breakfast table.
I wedge my soda can into the circle
And sit where I am able
To see and hear
The beautiful, sad, laughing sisters.

They tell me about you, Abuelita.
Throttling curses, rolling their r’s,
Shaping and blowing little glass stars
Into memories—

Of a young girl who cooked while standing on a chair
Stirring caldo- braided, black hair;
Small, brown shoulders glistened, bare
In a handmade Mexican sundress.

“She wasn’t chopping wood fast enough,
He took a hatchet to her shins.”
“She never learned to read or write.”
She’ll pay for all her mother’s sins
In the wet, almond eyes of her nine lovely daughters.

A woman, wife, witch and queen;
Mother of all who had ever been
Welcomed to her supper table.

I listen to you, Abuelita.
They don’t know.
Your far off, heavenly incantations
Show in the scratched chanting of my song.

Here, en mi cancion,
We eat pecans in the sun,
You decipher all my dreams,
And whisper warnings to future kings,
Else they reign alone, thunderless..

Let’s pray
And wear Melpomene’s cypress crown—
Pink, red, gold and blue;
We’ll walk past the woods without a sound
And stand on chairs to taste the rue.


Abuelita, venga.
Use my pen as your crook and wand,
And lead your daughter’s bleating lamb
To all your spells and truths—
It is sweet, fitting, proper and good
That you should be my Muse.
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:05 pm

Unfortunately I know no Spanish so I would appreciate a translation of those phrases dks.

I find this poem particularly poignant as my own Grandmother is gravely ill at the moment and likely to not live too long :cry:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby dks » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:27 pm

Saturn wrote:Unfortunately I know no Spanish so I would appreciate a translation of those phrases dks.

I find this poem particularly poignant as my own Grandmother is gravely ill at the moment and likely to not live too long :cry:


I'm sorry to hear that, Saturn. I hope her health improves. How old is she? :(

I wrote this about a month and half ago. My grandmother passed away years ago.

Here is a translation of the following Spanish phrases:

Abuelita or lita- grandmother
pan dulces- sweet bread
mi tia- my aunt
caldo- soup/gravy rue
en mi cancion- in my song
venga- come
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:36 am

mmmm, pan dulce :)

I love the mood of this one, and the addition of the short Spanish phrases really adds to the nostalgic quality of it.
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Postby Malia » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:41 am

I like this poem, too, dks. In fact, I think it's the best one you've posted yet :) I love poems that display that kind of love--especially for family and tradition. The Spanish phrases add a lot to the "feel" of the poem. Buena!
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Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:13 am

Thanks, guys. There's, unfortunately for you, many more where that came from... :wink:
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Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:13 am

You guys know pan dulces??? MMMMMMM. soooooo good with TEA!!!!!!! :shock: :shock:
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:23 am

dks wrote:You guys know pan dulces??? MMMMMMM. soooooo good with TEA!!!!!!! :shock: :shock:

Spanish was my language in high school/college, so I got a lot of Mexican culture with that. :wink:

That, and my band did a three-week tour of central Mexico a couple of years ago, so we had did intensive course work on Mexican history/culture and then got to go and experience some of real Mexico rather than your typical tourist traps (we ended up in Acapulco right before going home, and I hated it for how fake it was after being all the other places we'd visited). It was wonderful :D

I specifically remember buying a bag of pan dulces one evening at a little bakery in Cuetzalan and wandering around the zocalo with my friends munching on them for dinner :)
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Postby Fortuna » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:41 am

dks wrote:Thanks, guys. There's, unfortunately for you, many more where that came from... :wink:


I wouldn't say that's unfortunate at all. Keep them coming! I enjoy reading the poems you post very much, it's even inspired me to put pen to paper after several years of not writing poetry.

I really love the matriarchal themes and lines like "A woman, wife, witch and queen; Mother of all who had ever been" were almost reminiscent of ancient goddess worship. I don't know if any of that was your intention but that was what I identified with in your poem. :)

I studied French but the similarities were enough to guess what the Spanish phrases meant... pan (le pain), mi tia (ma tante), en mi cancion (en ma chanson), venga (viens).
"Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath"
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Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:37 am

Credo Buffa wrote:
dks wrote:You guys know pan dulces??? MMMMMMM. soooooo good with TEA!!!!!!! :shock: :shock:

Spanish was my language in high school/college, so I got a lot of Mexican culture with that. :wink:

That, and my band did a three-week tour of central Mexico a couple of years ago, so we had did intensive course work on Mexican history/culture and then got to go and experience some of real Mexico rather than your typical tourist traps (we ended up in Acapulco right before going home, and I hated it for how fake it was after being all the other places we'd visited). It was wonderful :D

I specifically remember buying a bag of pan dulces one evening at a little bakery in Cuetzalan and wandering around the zocalo with my friends munching on them for dinner :)


Oooooh, that bakery sounds heavenly!!!! :shock:

The interior of Mexico is a beautiful place, isn't it? Being here in southeast Texas--Mexico is always half a day's drive...even going just over the border is fun...so many shops and you can see the missions in the valley on the way down...yes, a wondrous culture.
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Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:45 am

Fortuna wrote:
dks wrote:Thanks, guys. There's, unfortunately for you, many more where that came from... :wink:


I wouldn't say that's unfortunate at all. Keep them coming! I enjoy reading the poems you post very much, it's even inspired me to put pen to paper after several years of not writing poetry.

I really love the matriarchal themes and lines like "A woman, wife, witch and queen; Mother of all who had ever been" were almost reminiscent of ancient goddess worship. I don't know if any of that was your intention but that was what I identified with in your poem. :)

I studied French but the similarities were enough to guess what the Spanish phrases meant... pan (le pain), mi tia (ma tante), en mi cancion (en ma chanson), venga (viens).


Thank you, Fortuna! You're too kind! My grandmother was a Christian, but she also practiced a form of white magic, an off shoot of Santa Ria--it was all good--so, guys, don't freak out on me (people are always a bit wary after I tell them about that). That is why I chose that imagery to describe her--a truly remarkable woman--she couldn't read or write--signed her name with an "X"--hence, the last line in the last stanza when I champion her being my Muse for that poem--she was illiterate, but her granddaughter is an English teacher (hopefully, I will be English 'professor' by May of next year when I finish my graduate work!)--the paradox is "sweet and fitting," indeed.

I'm always looking for fellow poets/exegetes...I've said this before, but truly, it is the only language that really gets through to me--I live in it daily. :wink:
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Postby Fortuna » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:58 am

dks wrote:Thank you, Fortuna! You're too kind! My grandmother was a Christian, but she also practiced a form of white magic, an off shoot of Santa Ria--it was all good--so, guys, don't freak out on me (people are always a bit wary after I tell them about that).


Haha well I can certainly relate. I also have a heritage that is deeply imbued with magic and the occult. Although I've chosen not to practice it religiously, it's definitely something that has characterised my childhood and I would hope to pass on to my children. If anything, just to be aware that there is more to the world than what is immediately apparent and tangible.
"Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath"
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Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:02 am

Fortuna wrote:
dks wrote:Thank you, Fortuna! You're too kind! My grandmother was a Christian, but she also practiced a form of white magic, an off shoot of Santa Ria--it was all good--so, guys, don't freak out on me (people are always a bit wary after I tell them about that).


Haha well I can certainly relate. I also have a heritage that is deeply imbued with magic and the occult. Although I've chosen not to practice it religiously, it's definitely something that has characterised my childhood and I would hope to pass on to my children. If anything, just to be aware that there is more to the world than what is immediately apparent and tangible.


Yes! I wholly agree with you! Thanks for not being shocked by it...that always makes me a bit nervous... :oops:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:35 am

dks wrote:The interior of Mexico is a beautiful place, isn't it? Being here in southeast Texas--Mexico is always half a day's drive...even going just over the border is fun...so many shops and you can see the missions in the valley on the way down...yes, a wondrous culture.

I certainly feel blessed to have been able to participate in that tour. We went through Mexico City a couple of times, Guanajuato (beautiful city), Puebla, Cuernavaca, Cuetzalan, and Acapulco (ugh) with a brief stop-over in Taxco. The highlight of the trip, though, was an outdoor concert we played in a little village near Cuetzalan. The whole town came out to hear us. We were there donating instruments and equipment for the town to start their own band, and a couple of our band alums were there to teach the kids how to play. They basically had a whole festival for us; the people are still very steeped in their Aztec heritage (only about half of the people even spoke Spanish; they spoke Nahuatl), so they performed dances for us in full costume (including the voladores, which is one of the most insane things I've everseen!), played music, prepared a meal for us and the whole village, and had small groups of us visit homes of different local artisans (the home I went to was a gentleman who made the headdresses and maracas for the traditional dances). I felt very fortunate to be conversational in Spanish as well, since none of the people there spoke any English. It's so wonderful to be able to talk to people in their own language :)

Anyway, one of the best days I've ever had :D [/long, half-related story]

It's really unfortunate that so many Americans have to have a negative view of Mexican people, because they're some of the kindest and most welcoming people in the world.
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Postby Saturn » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:25 am

dks wrote:I'm sorry to hear that, Saturn. I hope her health improves. How old is she? :(



Her health was a bit better yesterday but she is very old, ninety-five and may not be able to fully recover this time.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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