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martes, 12 de marzo de 2013


Alan Seeger

Alan Seeger (22 de junio de 1888 - 4 de julio de 1916), fue un poeta estadounidense. Nació en Nueva York, pero cuando tenía un año de edad él y su familia se mudaron a la isla de Staten, vivió ahí hasta la edad de 10 años. En 1900, su familia se mudó a México por 2 años, lo cual influyó en su poesía.
Alan ingresó a la Universidad de Harvard en 1906, después de atender varias escuelas preparatorias de élite, entre ellas la escuela Hackley, en dónde llegó a ser editor. Después de graduarse en 1910, se mudó a la Villa Greenwich por dos años, ahí escribió poemas y disfrutó la vida de un joven bohemio.
Se mudó al Barrio Latino de París para continuar con su estilo de vida y el 24 de agosto de 1914 se unió a la Legión Extranjera Francesa para poder combatir por los aliados en la Primera Guerra Mundial (Estados Unidos no entró a la guerra hasta 1917). Fue muerto en acción. Uno de sus poemas más famosos, I Have a Rendezvous with Death (Tengo una cita con la muerte), fue publicado después de su muerte.


La poesía de Alan Seeger fue publicada en 1917, un año después de su muerte. Los poemas no fueron un éxito debido a, según Eric Homberger, su idealismo sublime y lenguaje, y su calidad fuera de moda en las primeras décadas del siglo XX.


Tengo una cita con la muerte
en alguna disputada barricada,
cuando la primavera vuelva con susurrante sombra
y las flores de manzano llenen el aire
–tengo una cita con la muerte
cuando la primavera traiga los días hermosos y azules
  de vuelta–.
Puede ser que me coja de la mano
y que me lleve a su tierra oscura
y que cierre mis ojos y que apague mi aliento
–quizá pase a su lado en la quietud–.
Tengo una cita con la muerte
en alguna descarnada ladera de colina arrasada,
cuando la primavera regrese, un año más,
y asomen las primeras flores en el prado.
Dios sabe que sería mejor estar bien cubiertos
en seda y ser tendidos con perfumes,
donde el amor palpita en sueño placentero,
pulso cercano al pulso, y aliento al aliento,
donde los despertares acallados son queridos…
Pero tengo una cita con la muerte
a medianoche en algún pueblo en llamas,
cuando la primavera se encamine otra vez al norte,
y yo siempre soy fiel a mi palabra,
no faltaré a mi cita.

Borja Aguiló - Ben Clark (eds.): 
Tengo una cita con la Muerte (Poetas muertos en la Gran Guerra) 
(Linteo, 2011)

I Have a Rendezvous with Death

I HAVE a rendezvous with Death  
At some disputed barricade,  
When Spring comes back with rustling shade  
And apple-blossoms fill the air—  
I have a rendezvous with Death          
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.  
It may be he shall take my hand  
And lead me into his dark land  
And close my eyes and quench my breath—  
It may be I shall pass him still.   
I have a rendezvous with Death  
On some scarred slope of battered hill,  
When Spring comes round again this year  
And the first meadow-flowers appear.  
God knows 'twere better to be deep   
Pillowed in silk and scented down,  
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,  
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,  
Where hushed awakenings are dear...  
But I've a rendezvous with Death   
At midnight in some flaming town,  
When Spring trips north again this year,  
And I to my pledged word am true,  
I shall not fail that rendezvous.  

A Message to America

You have the grit and the guts, I know; 
You are ready to answer blow for blow 
You are virile, combative, stubborn, hard, 
But your honor ends with your own back-yard; 
Each man intent on his private goal, 
You have no feeling for the whole; 
What singly none would tolerate 
You let unpunished hit the state, 
Unmindful that each man must share 
The stain he lets his country wear, 
And (what no traveller ignores) 
That her good name is often yours. 

You are proud in the pride that feels its might; 
From your imaginary height 
Men of another race or hue 
Are men of a lesser breed to you: 
The neighbor at your southern gate 
You treat with the scorn that has bred his hate. 
To lend a spice to your disrespect 
You call him the "greaser". But reflect! 
The greaser has spat on you more than once; 
He has handed you multiple affronts; 
He has robbed you, banished you, burned and killed; 
He has gone untrounced for the blood he spilled; 
He has jeering used for his bootblack's rag 
The stars and stripes of the gringo's flag; 
And you, in the depths of your easy-chair -- 
What did you do, what did you care? 
Did you find the season too cold and damp 
To change the counter for the camp? 
Were you frightened by fevers in Mexico? 
I can't imagine, but this I know -- 
You are impassioned vastly more 
By the news of the daily baseball score 
Than to hear that a dozen countrymen 
Have perished somewhere in Darien, 
That greasers have taken their innocent lives 
And robbed their holdings and raped their wives. 

Not by rough tongues and ready fists 
Can you hope to jilt in the modern lists. 
The armies of a littler folk 
Shall pass you under the victor's yoke, 
Sobeit a nation that trains her sons 
To ride their horses and point their guns -- 
Sobeit a people that comprehends 
The limit where private pleasure ends 
And where their public dues begin, 
A people made strong by discipline 
Who are willing to give -- what you've no mind to -- 
And understand -- what you are blind to -- 
The things that the individual 
Must sacrifice for the good of all. 

You have a leader who knows -- the man 
Most fit to be called American, 
A prophet that once in generations 
Is given to point to erring nations 
Brighter ideals toward which to press 
And lead them out of the wilderness. 
Will you turn your back on him once again? 
Will you give the tiller once more to men 
Who have made your country the laughing-stock 
For the older peoples to scorn and mock, 
Who would make you servile, despised, and weak, 
A country that turns the other cheek, 
Who care not how bravely your flag may float, 
Who answer an insult with a note, 
Whose way is the easy way in all, 
And, seeing that polished arms appal 
Their marrow of milk-fed pacifist, 
Would tell you menace does not exist? 
Are these, in the world's great parliament, 
The men you would choose to represent 
Your honor, your manhood, and your pride, 
And the virtues your fathers dignified? 
Oh, bury them deeper than the sea 
In universal obloquy; 
Forget the ground where they lie, or write 
For epitaph: "Too proud to fight." 

I have been too long from my country's shores 
To reckon what state of mind is yours, 
But as for myself I know right well 
I would go through fire and shot and shell 
And face new perils and make my bed 
In new privations, if ROOSEVELT led; 
But I have given my heart and hand 
To serve, in serving another land, 
Ideals kept bright that with you are dim; 
Here men can thrill to their country's hymn, 
For the passion that wells in the Marseillaise 
Is the same that fires the French these days, 
And, when the flag that they love goes by, 
With swelling bosom and moistened eye 
They can look, for they know that it floats there still 
By the might of their hands and the strength of their will, 
And through perils countless and trials unknown 
Its honor each man has made his own. 
They wanted the war no more than you, 
But they saw how the certain menace grew, 
And they gave two years of their youth or three 
The more to insure their liberty 
When the wrath of rifles and pennoned spears 
Should roll like a flood on their wrecked frontiers. 
They wanted the war no more than you, 
But when the dreadful summons blew 
And the time to settle the quarrel came 
They sprang to their guns, each man was game; 
And mark if they fight not to the last 
For their hearths, their altars, and their past: 
Yea, fight till their veins have been bled dry 
For love of the country that WILL not die. 

O friends, in your fortunate present ease 
(Yet faced by the self-same facts as these), 
If you would see how a race can soar 
That has no love, but no fear, of war, 
How each can turn from his private role 
That all may act as a perfect whole, 
How men can live up to the place they claim 
And a nation, jealous of its good name, 
Be true to its proud inheritance, 
Oh, look over here and learn from FRANCE! 

El Extraviado

Over the radiant ridges borne out on the offshore wind, 
I have sailed as a butterfly sails whose priming wings unfurled 
Leave the familiar gardens and visited fields behind 
To follow a cloud in the east rose-flushed on the rim of the world. 

I have strayed from the trodden highway for walking with upturned eyes 
On the way of the wind in the treetops, and the drift of the tinted rack. 
For the will to be losing no wonder of sunny or starlit skies 
I have chosen the sod for my pillow and a threadbare coat for my back. 

Evening of ample horizons, opaline, delicate, pure, 
Shadow of clouds on green valleys, trailed over meadows and trees, 
Cities of ardent adventure where the harvests of Joy mature, 
Forests whose murmuring voices are amorous prophecies, 

World of romance and profusion, still round my journey spread 
The glamours, the glints, the enthralments, the nurture of one whose feet 
From hours unblessed by beauty nor lighted by love have fled 
As the shade of the tomb on his pathway and the scent of the winding-sheet. 

I never could rest from roving nor put from my heart this need 
To be seeing how lovably Nature in flower and face hath wrought, -- 
In flower and meadow and mountain and heaven where the white clouds breed 
And the cunning of silken meshes where the heart's desire lies caught. 

Over the azure expanses, on the offshore breezes borne, 
I have sailed as a butterfly sails, nor recked where the impulse led, 
Sufficed with the sunshine and freedom, the warmth and the summer morn, 
The infinite glory surrounding, the infinite blue ahead 

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