Poems for staying at home (Day 27)

The fall


Today – because ‘it’s the only thing the universe knows how to do’ – a poem about falling, from Argentina’s Beatríz Vignoli. I love the particularity of these lines:  ‘If they tell you that I fell / don’t come / and teach me revisionist aerodynamics. / Don’t tell me of those who fell in victory . . .’


The Fall

If they tell you that I fell
it’s because I fell.
And with horizontal results.
In a right angle I am
only the sides.
I am ignorant of the monumental art of slanting
the hero’s ornamental torsion
that passes off his fall as a jump.
That loop of the martyr who, ascending,
casts off the role of victim
and soars above her own anguish
is not my specialty. Me, when I fall,
I fall.
There is no parabola
no air, no lift force.
A slip: I wait. I land on the floor
by the shortest route.
An avalanche, a stone,
a beam that has been dynamited.
There is no bodily guile in my descent.
It outlasts itself: the bottom
of the abyss is softer
for one who does not fly, only falls.
If they tell you that I fell
don’t come
and teach me revisionist aerodynamics.
Don’t tell me of those who fell in victory.
Don’t come and tell me
that you don’t believe it was an accident.
The only thing I believe in is the accident.
The only thing the universe knows how to do
is fall over for no reason,
is collapse, just because.

(Translated by Richard Gwyn)


La caída

Si te dicen que caí
es que caí.
Y con horizontales resultados.
Soy, del ángulo recto
solamente los lados.
Ignoro el arte monumental del sesgo,
esa torsión ornamental del héroe
que hace que su caer se luzca como un salto.
Ese rizo del mártir que, ascendiendo
se sale de la víctima
y su propio tormento sobrevuela
no es mi especialidad. Yo, cuando caigo,
No hay parábola
ni aire, ni fuerza de sustentación.
Un resbalón: espero. Al suelo llego
por la ruta más breve.
Un alud, una piedra,
una viga a la que han dinamitado.
No hay astucias del cuerpo en mi descenso.
Se sobrevive: el fondo
del abismo es más blando
para quien no vuela, sólo cae.
Si te dicen que caí,
no vengas
a enseñarme aerodinámica revisionista.
No me cuentes de los que cayeron venciendo.
No vengas a decirme
que no crees que haya sido un accidente.
En lo único que creo es en el accidente.
Lo único que sabe hacer el universo
es derrumbarse sin ningún motivo,
es desmoronarse porque sí.


Beatriz Vignoli was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1965. She is a novelist, poet, journalist, translator and art critic. Five of her poems appear in The Other Tiger: Recent Poetry from Latin America.

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