Poems for staying at home (Day 14)

 

I never had a house

 

Not everyone owns a house, least of all a house that affords them privacy, or a place where children might play outside, even if the sun itself reminds one of the endless casualties in a terrible war. In today’s house poem the Salvadoran poet Otoniel Guevara conjures a house of dreams from the ruins of memory.

 

I never had a house

I want a house
where the neighbours cannot hear your cries
your irrepressible
cries of pleasure

where there is always water falling
from the sky
and from the watering can

I want a garden and a patio
where childhood plays out
its most torrential alphabet

where the sun does not remind me
of being twelve and the endless dead bodies

where I don’t have to put red signals
under doors
where a bond of love fits us
and the children

where Death arrives finally
and feels as though
he’s in his own home.

 (Translated by Richard Gwyn)

 

Nunca tuve una casa

 Quiero una casa
donde no escuchen tus gritos los vecinos
tus gritos de placer
inocultables

donde siempre caiga el agua
del cielo
y de la regadera

Quiero un hogar con patio
donde juegue la infancia
su más torrente abecedario

donde el sol no me recuerde
los cadáveres incesantes de mis doce años

donde no haya que colocar semáforos
bajo las puertas
donde quepa el amor que nos lazamos
y los hijos

donde La Muerte finalmente llegue
y se sienta
como en su propia casa

 

Otoniel Guevara was born in  Quetzaltepeque, El Salvador in 1967. He fought  for the FMLN in the Salvadoran civil war, studied journalism at the El Salvador University, and since then has worked as a publicist, cultural journalist, and editor. He has published around 30 titles and his poems have been translated into many languages.  He is executive director of the Fundación Metáfora and director of the publishing house La Chifurnia.

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