A taster from Mexican poet Pedro Serrano’s collection, Peatlands, translated by Anna Crowe and fresh off the press from Arc, who are to be congratulated, yet again, for bringing another fine writer to the attention of the English language reader.
There is also an introduction by W.N. Herbert, where we find these lines, which seem so apposite with regard to the poem I have chosen: “The intention [is] to transform us through language, compelling us to rethink, re-imagine and re-envision the world and our place in it; and to break down our unconsidered assumptions about opposed categories like thought and feeling, human and animal, by continually returning us to the matrix of the body . . .”
Feet clench, make themselves small, run away,
creasing their wretchedness and fear in lines
identical to those on our palms and different.
Feet are extensions of God
(which is why they are low down),
hence their distress, their rounded bulk, their lack of balance.
Feet are like startled crayfish.
Such vulnerable things, feet.
When they make love they clench and huddle together
as though they were their own subjects.
So feet are not made, then,
to cling, like wasps
to every pine-needle pin,
to every branch of the soul that makes them there.
They are more wings than feet,
tiny and fragile and human.
However much we overlook them.
Los pies se doblan, empequeñecen, huyen,
curvan su miseria y su miedo en unas líneas
que son las de la mano y no lo son.
Los pies son extensiones de Dios
(por eso están abajo),
de allí su angustia, su volumen redondo, su desajuste.
Los pies son como crustáceos asustados.
Tan sensibles los pies.
Se doblan y apeñuscan al hacer el amor
como si ellos fueran sus sujetos.
Los pies, así, no están hechos ahora
para prenderse como avispas
a cada aguja,
a cada rama del alma que allí los haga.
Son más alas que pies,
chiquititos y frágiles y humanos.
Tan desconsiderados que los tenemos.