Once upon a time
… and at the end of the story
Miss Little Red Riding Hood was a wolf,
the grandmother a woodcutter,
the ravener an ascetic,
the libertarian a complete compendium of dependencies,
the mystic a fear-tinged frivoller,
the homme incompris an angel,
the princess a monster,
the frivoller a fear-tinged mystic,
the monster a princess,
the other homme incompris a demon,
the supposed wolf a real Little Red Riding Hood
and the path through the wood
[Depth of Field] (2007, bilingual ed. 2009)
Translation by JONATHAN DUNNE
Apples from Tolstoi's Garden
who traced by car the banks of the Neretva,
who exhausted on bicycle the steaming streets of Cophehnague.
I who measured with my own arms the holes of Sarajevo,
who crossed, in the driver's seat, the border of Slovenia
and overflew in a biplane the Ria of Betanzos.
I who set off in a ferry which docked on the coasts of Ireland,
and at the island of Ometepe in Lake Cocibolca;
I who will never forget that shop in Budapest,
nor the fields of cotton in the province of Tesalia,
nor a night when I was 17 in a hotel in Nice.
My memory wets its feet at Jurmala beach in Latvia
and on 6th Avenue feels at home.
who could have died once taking in a taxi in Lima,
who crossed the yellow of the brilliant fields of Pakruojis
and crossed that same street as Margaret Mitchell in Atlanta.
My steps walked the pink sands of Elafonisi,
they crossed a corner in Brooklyn, the Charles Bridge, Lavalle street.
I who traversed desert to go to Essaouira,
who slid on a zip wire from the heights of Mombacho,
who won't forget the night I slept on the street itself in Amsterdam,
nor the Monastery of Ostrog, nor the stones of Meteora.
I who said a name aloud in the middle of a plaza in Gante,
who once cut through the Bosphorus dressed in promises,
who was never the same after that afternoon in Auschwitz.
who drove east until near Podgorica,
who covered in a snowmobile the Vatnajókull glacier,
I who never felt as alone as in the rue de Sant Denis,
who will never taste grapes like the grapes of Corinto.
I, who one day plucked
apples from Tolstoy's garden,
I want to go back home:
that I love most
of A Coruña
precisely in you.
[in A Coruña in light of the letters] (2008)
Translation by Lawrence Schimel
A Story of Transformation
First it was a disorder
a girl’s harmful abstinence we were poor I had nothing
except rickets poverty before I bitterness lacking a
parabola of complexes a syndrome a ghost
(Equally ill-fated to miss or lament it)
Shadowy reef which breaks my necklaces.
First of all it was an evasive gill which
wouldn’t make me happy touching me with its breath
I’m the plainest face in the school playground
insipid expression which sows nothing anywhere
have it or not give up get used to swallow it
crows covering clouds sentenced to eternal cold
a patient gale a private deprivation
(I was a convent girl they all end up
anorexic Lesbian spare
the rod spoil the elbows heads
cunts and consciences).
I closed my eyes and violently wished
once and for all to become what I was.
But beauty corrupts. Beauty corrupts.
Shadowy reef which wears out my necklaces.
Morning conquers and the throat contains a portent.
Silly little thing! you were obsessed with covering with crosses
instead of content.
It was a slow dizzy blossoming of flowers in winter
The rivers jumped back turned into waterfalls roses
butterflies and snails appeared in my hair
The smile of my breasts added fuel to airplanes
The tightness of my stomach escorted spring
conch shells overflowed in my miniature hands
my highest compliment pinched my ventricle
I no longer knew what to do with so much light in so much shade.
They said your weapon will be your own punishment
they threw my virtues in my face this
club does not admit girls with red painted lips
a dirty seaquake perverted usury which
can have nothing to do with my mask of lashes
mice went up to my room fouled the drawers of underwear
litres of scrap tar secret spying litres
of control litres of slanderers kilos of suspicions raised
with only the tense arch of my eyebrows you should be tied up
given a grey appearance your features erased with acid
to stop being me in order to become a writer?
they demonized my long thin neck the way
I have hair at the base of my nape this
club does not admit such well turned out girls
We distrust the summer
Think hard if this is all worth it.
[Depth of Field] (2007, bilingual ed. 2009)
Translation by Jonathan Dunne
* * *
I Passed By Here So Many Times… and Never Saw You Before
We are making a detailed inventory,
like the herbarium of an unforeseeable constellation.
First are the lilies, adornment of splattered stars;
the dahlias and the chrysanthemums;
the poppies need to be included because those tiny, shy flowers also deserve it.
The fig tree's flower is subliminal.
The most bookish of all: the capitula of the inflorescences.
The orchid is clearly a lascivious flower,
it too closely resembles–I shan't go there.
The hibiscus fills the afternoon with whims and proverbs.
Hydrangeas: tell me how happy I was here.
There are the iris, the lavender, what is called the tea rose.
And then there is the magnolia that, as its name indicates,
must once have been the emblem of some kind of Mongol sovereignty.
Callas, anemones, the rhododendron's hardened indication.
Then there are other prodigies findable in distant latitudes,
like the unspeakable chilamate flower,
that is felt but not seen, like
that deep love that rises like a bellow from the knees.
water lilies, Chinese roses, dandelions.
We also have cosmos and sage and impatiens but those are already
more conceptual flowers.
The passion-flower is like the throne of an answer, the
canopy of a consideration.
There are flowers that forever bear the name of the first eye that saw them.
Lilacs, marigolds, carnations.
I cannot forget the mimosas, swarm of tiny warnings,
nor my most spoiled: the indecent turmoil of the bougainvilleas.
But, I already told you–I don't know, it's strange,
I've passed by here so many times and…
I never saw you
Translation by Lawrence Schimel
[in Cuadernos de Villa Waldberta/Aufzeichnungen aus der Villa Waldberta, Instituto Cervantes
of Munich and Munich City Council, GERMANY] (2012)
Yolanda Castaño (Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 1977). BA in Spanish Language and Literature and with Media Studies, apart from being a successful poet since 19 years ago, editor and a culture manager, Yolanda has been a columnist and has worked in Galician TV during many years (Galician Audiovisual Academy Award as ‘Best TV Communicator 2005’). She has published 5 poetry books in Galician and Spanish (“Depth of Field” is her last title), and a pair of compilations. She has won several poetry awards, amongst which, the National Critics Award, the Espiral Maior Poetry Award and the Ojo Crítico (best poetry book by a young author in Spain) stand out. She is a relevant cultural activist, regularly organizing international poetry reading series, festivals, literary manifestations and translation workshops. She was the General Secretary of the Galician Language Writers Association and she has made her contribution to many written media, books, anthologies, conferences and many readings or multimedia poetry performances -including many international poetry festivals- mostly around Europe and America but also in Tunisia and Japan. She has coordinated collective books, art and poetry exhibitions, she has published works as an editor, as well as four poetry books for children and two of translations. She has been involved in many different experiences of blending poetry with music, performance, dance, architecture, visual and audiovisual arts, and even cookery. Some of her poems have been translated into more than fifteen languages. In 2011 she held two international fellowships as a writer-inresidence, at the IWTCR in Rhodes (Greece) and in Villa Waldberta, Munich (Germany).