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miércoles, 26 de diciembre de 2012


Anna Hempstead Branch [1875-1937]
Nacida en Hempstead House, New London, Connecticut. Graduada en la universidad de Smith en 1897 y en la Academia Americana de Arte Dramático, en Nueva York, en 1900. En la universidad empezó a escribir poesía y el año siguiente al de su graduación ganó el primer premio ofrecido por el Century Magazine 'para un poema escrito por un graduado de la universidad. Este poema, "El camino" entre el cielo y el infierno ", fue publicado en la revista Century en diciembre de 1898, y fue seguido poco después por la publicación del primer volumen de Miss Branch, "The Heart of the Road" en 1901. Desde entonces, publicó dos volúmenes más, "The Shoes That Danced", 1902, y "Rose of the Wind" de 1910, ambos marcados por la imaginación y la belleza de un orden superior.



Es una cosa bella el orden;
sobre el desarreglo se posa
y enseña el canto a lo sencillo.
Tiene la gracia humilde y mansa
del rostro quieto de una monja.
¡Cómo quisiera aquí tenerte!
Tranquilo pozo de delicia,
en ti las cosas brillan dulces
cual piedras claras bajo el agua.
Tú, claridad,
que con angélica bondad
revelas todo en su belleza,
como una poza limpia extiéndete
y en ti serán todas las cosas,
más bellas, más espirituales,
reflejos de aires más serenos,
sumergidas formas de estrellas
del alto cielo, tan lejano.


¡Oh, cosas,
opacas, visibles, caseras,
os cubren las alas gloriosas
de vuestras esencias de arriba,
lentas lunas de un cielo oculto!
Tan sólo sois sus semejanzas
gastadas sobre otro elemento,
los turbios rebrillos lejanos
de otras brillantes solideces.

Suaves como sueño
imagen sólo, en la corriente.


¿Qué sois?

No sé.
Paila de bronce, olla de hierro,
basa gris, ladrillo amarillo,
hollados siempre por mis pies.
Me parecéis
barcos de fúlgido misterio
que una forma lleváis, y así,
aun hechos por el hombre, sois
obra también del hondo Espíritu,
a cuyo soplo obedecéis.


Forma, el fuerte y tremendo Espíritu,
en ti posó su mano antigua.

Él, dueño del caos vacío,
puede alterarlo y someterlo.

Él, en verdad, levanta
la materia cual vaso santo.

Tocó la honda sustancia y ¡ved!
ya donde no erais, sois; y así,
salidas de la inútil nada,
gemisteis, reísteis y fuisteis.

Yo os uso, como puedo,
uso admirable, para el hombre,
paila de bronce, olla de hierro.


¿Qué sois?

No sé.
Ni lo que hago, en verdad,
cuando os manejo y cuando os muevo.
No hay, ante Dios, labor mezquina.
A todos nos pide grandeza;
a su menor creatura,
naturaleza angélica,
estatura soberbia,
brillante plenitud.

Ningún deber humilde pone.
Cualquier acción que nos exija
luce un raro halo de belleza.
Gran hazaña, tarea cósmica
al más modesto ser le pide.

Si bruño esta paila de bronce
oigo la risa de alguien, lejos,
en los jardines de una estrella,
y huir de su ardiente presencia
llameantes ruedas de mis soles.

Quien da más brillo a alguna cosa
es como un ángel, todo luz.
Si limpio este piso de barro,
mi espíritu salta de ver
trajes de luces recorrerlo,
una limpieza hecha por mí.

Oh, Purificador del hombre,
con mi trabajo yo te alabo,
pues mi trabajo es para ti.
Quien da más brillo a alguna cosa
es como un ángel, todo luz.
Dejadme, pues, manifestar
la gran limpieza de mi Dios.


Una vez, al frío del alba,
bajaron ángeles
a trabajar conmigo.

El aire estaba suave de alas.
Reían en mi soledad
y daban luz con sus miradas.
Me demandaron dulcemente
hacer mis comunes tareas.
¡Qué bellos todos! Pero aquel
con vestes blancas como el sol,
¡qué faz tenía!
De una honda gracia recordada.

Cuando lo vi grité: “Tú eres
el hermano mayor de mi alma.
¿Dónde te he visto?” Y él me dijo:
“Cuando bailamos ante Dios,
¡con qué frecuencia estás tú allí!
Vuelan bellezas de tus manos
cual blancas palomas al cielo.
¿Es que ya tu alma no recuerda?
Sigue en tu trabajo
y limpia tu porra de hierro.”


¿Qué sois? No sé.

While Loveliness Goes By

Sometimes when all the world seems gray and dun
And nothing beautiful, a voice will cry,
"Look out, look out! Angels are drawing nigh!"
Then my slow burdens leave me, one by one,

And swiftly does my heart arise and run
Even like a child, while loveliness goes by--
And common folk seem children of the sky,
And common things seem shapéd of the sun.

Oh, pitiful! that I who love them, must
So soon perceive their shining garments fade!
And slowly, slowly, from my eyes of trust

Their flaming banners sink into a shade!
While this earth's sunshine seems the golden dust
Slow settling from that radiant cavalcade.

Sweet Weariness

Fatigue itself may be a pleasant thing
And weariness be silken, soft and fine!
Upon my eyes its little vapors shine,
Trailing me softly like a colored wing!

Tender as when belovéd voices sing
It steals upon me and with touch divine
Lulls all my senses till each thought of mine
Is hushed to quiet, unremembering.

Oh, weariness thrice dear, so frailly spun
Of ended pleasure that still shines and glows;
Oh, weariness, thrice dear! What have I done

To earn this delicate and deep repose?
Child, thou hast worshiped at the setting sun
And looked, long, long, upon the opening rose.

The Wound

Wounded am I, yet happier--happier far
Than they who have not felt the precious sting!
Poor feet that bleed not with this wandering!
Poor hands that burn not, plucking at a star!

Poor hearts unblessed and whole! I bear the scar
Of a too piercing loveliness. The thing
Hung out of reach I touched, and now I sing
Mad with delight, more blessed than others are.

For since the blushing and ethereal hour
When loveliness upon my heart was born,
When I was stricken by her magic power,

I run--I run--wild, ecstasied, forlorn,
For beauty, when I go to pluck her flower,
Pierces my willing bosom with a thorn.

A Sonnet for the Earth

When I am weary for delight and spent,
Even as a bird that tries too long its wings
Will nest awhile amid the grass and sings,
So I drop downward from the wonderment

Of timelessness and space, in which were blent
The wind, the sunshine and the wanderings
Of all the planets--to the little things
That are my grass and flowers and am content.

Or if in flight my wings should beat so far
From the kind grass that is so cool and deep
That it must poise among the winds on high--

Yet will I sing to thee from star to star,
Piercing thy sunshine, and will always keep
A song for thee amid the farthest sky.

My Foolish Deeds

When I, before the altars of repose,
Invited Slumber, she refused to stay,
But with a broken heart she turned away,
Astonished quite. Among the flaunting shows

That circled round, she perished like a rose
Cast among flames. Oh, bring her back--I pray!
Then sternly to my heart a voice said, "Nay,
Thou canst not have her--tearfully she goes."

God might not join us,--for gorgeous, bright,
Adorned, conspicuous, sure, without disguise,
Strangely illumined with derisive light

They danced -- they danced! Oh, then I was made wise!
My foolish deeds, flaming before my eyes,
Denied me slumber all the livelong night.

Sonnets for New York City

I. New York at Sunrise

When with her clouds the early dawn illumes
Our doubtful streets, wistful they grow and mild
As if a sleeping soul grew happy and smiled,
The whole dark city radiantly blooms.

Pale spires lift their hands above the glooms
Like a resurrection, delicately wild,
And flushed with slumber like a little child,
Under a mist, shines forth the innocent Tombs.

Thus have I seen it from a casement high.
As unsubstantial as a dream it grows.
Is this Manhattan, virginal and shy,

That in a cloud so rapturously glows?
Ethereal, frail, and like an opening rose,
I see my city with an enlightened eye.

II. A Political "Boss"

Has he no country? Is he of alien breed?
Is this land not his home? Oh, exiled one!
Stranger to his own kind, where does he run?
How he has shamed us, for the world to read!

Oh, carrion, prowling where this people bleed,
Grown fat upon disaster, hide from the sun!
A scornful nation asks, what has he done
With the public trust, the honor, and the need.

Not him with glorious hand will we indite,
Patriot, Statesman, in the Hall of Fame,
Nor will we let him flee into the night

Of safe oblivion! But oh--that name
For our sons' sons a moving hand shall write
In scarlet letters on the walls of Shame.

III. Shame on Thee, O Manhattan

Shame on thee, O Manhattan, whom I love!
And shame on me that I have slept away
So many years while thy feet went astray!
O Thou--that should'st be white as any dove,

Thou Scarlet Woman! Is there no voice to move--
No hand to smite us? Even for this I pray--
Some terrible scourging that we have let the day
Darken around us while we saw thee rove.

Last night I heard thee cry. Thy wandering feet
Went bleeding by me. On thy ruined breast
I saw thee nurse a feeding child of flame!

Desolate, gorgeous, frantic along the street!
Ah, how I blushed in the dark that through my rest
I felt the burning garments of thy shame.

IV. The Fountain of Life

This day into the fields my steps are led.
I cannot heal me there! Row after row,
Thousands of daisies radiantly blow.
They have not brought from Heaven my daily bread!

But they are like a prayer too often said.
I have forgot their meaning, and I go
From the cold rubric of their gold and snow,
And the calm ritual, all uncomforted.

I want the faces! faces! remote and pale,
That surge along the city streets! The flood
Of reckless ones, haggard and spent and frail,

Excited, hungry! In this other mood
'T is not the words of the faith for which I ail,
But to plunge in the fountain of its living blood.

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