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miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013


Alan Brownjohn
Alan Charles Brownjohn FRSL (nacido el 28 de julio 1931) es un poeta inglés y novelista.
Nació en Londres y estudió en el Merton College, Oxford. Se dedicó a la Enseñanza hasta 1979, cuando se convirtió en escritor a tiempo completo. 
Alan Brownjohn es un miembro distinguido de la British Humanist Association.


Travellers Alone (1954) poems
The Railings (1961) poems
To Clear the River (1964) novel, as John Berrington
Penguin Modern Poets 14 (1965) with Michael Hamburger, Charles Tomlinson
The Lions' Mouths (1967)
A Day by Indirections (1969) broadsheet poem
First I Say This: A Selection of Poems for Reading Alou (1969) editor
Sandgrains On A Tray (1969)
Woman Reading Aloud (1969) broadsheet poem
Synopsis (1970)
Brownjohn's Beasts (1970)
Transformation Scene (1971) broadside poem
An Equivalent (1971) poem
New Poems 1970-71. A P.E.N. Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (1971) edited with Seamus Heaney and Jon Stallworthy
Warrior's Career (1972)
She Made of It (1974)
A Song of Good Life (1975)
Philip Larkin (1975)
New Poetry 3, Arts Council anthology (1977) edited with Maureen Duffy
A Night in the Gazebo (1980)
Nineteen Poems (1980)
Collected Poems 1952–1983 (1983)
The Old Flea-Pit (1987)
The Observation Car (1990) poems
The Gregory Anthology 1987-1990 (1990) editor with K. W. Gransden
The Way You Tell Them: A Yarn of the Nineties (1990) novel
Inertia Reel (1992) broadside poem
In the Cruel Arcade (1994)
The Long Shadows (1997) novel
Horace by Pierre Corneille (1997) translator
The Cat without E-mail (Enitharmon Press 2001)
A Funny Old Year (2001) novel
The Men Around Her Bed (Enitharmon Press, 2004)
Windows on the Moon (2009) novel
Ludbrooke and Others (Enitharmon Press, 2010)

Dos poemas a la manera de Prevert


En esta ciudad, quizá una calle.
En esta calle, quizá una casa.
En esta casa, quizá un cuarto,
y en este cuarto, una mujer sentada.
Sentada en la oscuridad, sentada y llorando
por alguien que acaba de salir por esa puerta
y acaba de apagar la luz
olvidándose que estaba ahí sentada.


Vamos a ver al conejo.
¿Vamos a ver al conejo,
cuál conejo, dice la gente?
¿Cuál conejo, preguntan los niños?
¿Cuál conejo?
El único conejo,
el único conejo de Inglaterra,
sentado detrás de una alambrada,
bajo reflectores, lámparas de neón,
lámparas de sodio,
royendo yerba
sobre el único pedazo de yerba
en Inglaterra, en Inglaterra
(salvo la yerba amontonada,
la cual no vale).

Vamos a ver al conejo
y tenemos que estar a tiempo.
Primero iremos por la escalera mecánica,
luego iremos en metro.
Y luego por la autopista,
y luego en helicóptero,
y la últimas diez yardas tendremos
que hacerlas a pie.

Y ahora vamos
hasta el fin, a ver al conejo,
ya casi hemos llegado,
tenemos muchas ganas de verlo,
y también el gentío
que ha venido por miles
con policía montada
y altoparlantes grandes
y orquestas y banderas
y todo el mundo ha venido de lejos.
Pero pronto lo veremos
sentado y royendo
los tallos de yerba
del único pedazo de yerba
de —¡Pero algo ha fallado!
¿por qué está todo el mundo tan amargo,
por qué armando lío,
quejándose, empujándose?

El conejo se ha ido,
sí, el conejo se fue.
De hecho, ha minado la tierra,
ha construido una conejera entre la tierra,
a pesar de toda esta gente.
¿Y qué vamos a hacer?
¿Qué podemos hacer?
Es una lástima, estarán sin duda contrariados.

Váyanse a casa y hagan hoy otra cosa,
váyanse a casa, váyanse a casa por hoy.
Porque no pueden oír al conejo, bajo la tierra,
triste, haciendo observaciones, solo
mientras descansa entre su conejera, bajo tierra
"No tardarán, están destinados a venir,
están destinados a venir y encontrarme,
aún entre la tierra".

Alan Brownjohn, incluido en Poesía inglesa contemporánea (Barral Editores, Barcelona, 1975, versión de Antonio Cisneros).

‘In this city...’

In this city, perhaps a street.
In this street, perhaps a house.
In this house, perhaps a room
And in this room a woman sitting,
Sitting in the darkness, sitting and crying
For someone who has just gone through the door
And who has just switched off the light
Forgetting she was there.

Peter Daines at a Party

Oliver Cromwell and Beethoven both
Died in the middle of thunderstorms, Ruth
Didn’t know this, but knew Kierkegaard’s Dad
Curse God from a hilltop, or so it was said.
Yet none of these things was at all familiar
To Mary, or Nora, or Helen, or Pamela.

But Pamela knew of some laws of Justinian’s,
Helen listened to Schutz and had read The Virginians,
And Nora and Mary liked Wallace Stevens,
So in general terms it worked out evens
 – Except that none of them, only Amanda,
Knew that Oliver Cromwell died during thunder.

Still, here were these women with items of knowledge
Picked up in one and another college
 – And here am I with not quite all their gaps
In my knowledge of all these high-powered chaps,
Doing well with the female population
And their limited but charming conversation.

Ballad for a Birthday

I cleaned up the house, and moved the telephone;
I had a look to see if the plant had grown;
I put Tiddles outside, and sat on my own:
            I feel the same, but I wouldn’t want to call it love.

I arranged my dresses on laundry hooks;
I pulled out the table and set out my books;
I went to the window for just one or two looks:
            I feel the same, but I wouldn’t want to call it love.

I wanted coffee, so I marked the page;
It should have been over when it got to this stage;
Can I be the same girl at a different age?
            I feel the same, but I wouldn’t want to call it love.

What if he phoned, and I heard the bell
With my feet on the bath-tap, and I couldn’t tell...
Well, I heard it...should I answer it as well?
            I fell the same, but I wouldn’t want to call it love.

If he wrote a letter, saying Could we meet,
Or if we met by accident, in the street
 – When something’s finished, is it always complete?
            I feel the same, but I wouldn’t want to call it love.

If he drove round here and knocked on the door,
Would I answer his questions, let him ask me more,
Or could I tell him I was absolutely sure...?
             — Oh, I feel the same, but I wouldn’t want to call it love.

The Packet

In the room,
In the woman’s hand as she turns
Is the packet of salt.
On the packet is a picture of a
Woman turning,
With a packet in her hand.

When the woman in the room com-
Pletes her turning, she
Puts the packet down and leaves.

On the packet in the picture
Is: a picture of a woman
Turning, with a packet in her hand.

On this packet is a picture: of a woman,
Turning, with  a packet in her hand.
On this packet is no picture.

— It is a tiny blank.
                               And now the man waits,
And waits: two-thirty, seven-thirty,

At twelve he lays the packet on its side
And draws, in the last packet in the last
Picture, a tiny woman turning.

And then he locks the door,
And switches off the bedside lamp,
And among the grains of salt, he goes to sleep.

White Night

I did not dream it, no I was
A t. v. screen left on shining, and
Insensately vibrating, and
Blank, in a shop at night: like a
Flat yet restless pool.

I could picture nothing; but
I was alive and was shivering and
Wanting to hold more and think more
Than grey, sudden flecks and bleak dots
Momently repeating.

O nice insomnia, fastidiously
Beckoning the abrasive dawn, and tuning
The mind to that first, drab
Water-table where, out of such cold depths, came
Monsters on which the hurtful body rode.


            We used to be some self-absorbed people living
In a compromised age about twenty years ago. We hated it, it
Was a terrible age, and underneath we liked it in a way, it
            Was because it gave us the chance to feel like that.

            Now it has all changed, and we are older,
And we hate the age completely, not nearly so
Entranced with our hatred. But now there are lots of younger
            People entranced with hatred of this terrible age,

            While underneath they like it in a way, because
It gives them the chance to feel like that. We ourselves feel lost
Because we can’t tell them they are compromised like us,
            That being hard for the self-absorbed to see.

            And all the time the ages are getting worse and worse.


Lastly my turn to hide, so
The other children instantly
Scattered  among the scrubland grass,
Blanked their eyes, began
To count aloud.
                         Away downhill,
The traffic thundered less
In the hazed streets, the orange
Street-lamps suddenly lit in
A necklace of twilight mauves. I was
Expected home from this game, to eat,
And read myself to sleep. Besides,
There were so many ruses more
I wanted to devise.
They counted out my time, came
Running to look for me, I ran
And left them there, I ran back home
And left them.
                       Turning today
A tower-block corner, I saw them
In the gathering dark, bemused
And middle-aged, in tattered
Relics of children’s clothes, still
Searching even now in the glittering
Scrubland of my Precinct, for
What had deserted them, what had
Cast them there; blank-eyed, and
Never to tell what I had built,
What I had left them with in forty years.

The Leap

One Xmas in the High Street, the Rotary Tree
On the traffic island by the underground Gentlemen’s
Concealed a plenteous amplifier, bawling
The sound of music as if from down below.

Rotarians were shaking boxes for children
Too far away, too heathen, or too poor
To have this kind of Xmas; and two lovers
Looked out upon this scene from where they sat

—  On a cushion of white noise which they could not hear –
At the cotton-wool-snow-dotted window of
A little formica restaurant, threading hands
And picking at green salads between interlacements.

That deep hum of noise from the near deep freeze
Lulled all the sounds around them, held them fast
From the clamours of the Xmas street, kept off
This world altogether, more than they would have guessed.

All they could know was a happy avenue
Stretching away in front of them and on
Into uplands of opportunity; and they thought:
Of all the times, this time we have  it right!

— When suddenly a sneaky thermostat
Cut the droning freezer out to the starkest stop;
And with a squirming chill down every back,
The whole room took a leap into a ghastly

Stillness and vividness. Their hands disjoined,
And to their eyes came nervous, separate smiles,
Much less certain than before: that wicked cold
Went through their empty fingers to their hearts,

And froze out words. So when the shaken room
Relaxed, and the seething copper urn
Spilled out once more its rasping twists of coffee
Into trays of passive cups, they had this instinct

Of a string having somehow snapped in the distant air
—  Until the traffic moved, and the tree again
Stood and ritually glistened, and everyone
Went deaf as usual with the chime of coin.

A Witness

            Did something drop down and move out over the shore,
Just now? In front of, then lost to sight in, the mist?
The colours in the perspective tell me nothing.
Did something occur that the light would not yield up?

            — That was the final question of the day,
The seascape as usual resigned to dull entropy,
No spaced-out clouds forming up into glowing processions,
No cinematic gloriousness and hope.

            — It might for a moment have been something falling there.
The day had begun, and was ending, blank. But at four-
Fifteen was there an unobserved low-tide success?
An Icarus landing on sand, getting up and running?

What She Required

   No use imagining better things to do,
The chance of finding those will have gone already.
   Is a gale blowing up? It certainly is.
It lifts the tiles off the roofs and breaks
   The casements open. Were they so unsteady,
The walls of this romantic pledge you knew
   Might never be fulfilled? Something that always takes
Huge luck and costs you tiresome agonies

   Over all the trivia which might be turned
Into golden keys . . . ?
                                    No, look! Today
   Is the day you waited for. Though in fifty years
The wind has howled each sheltering grown-up tree
   Into contortions, you at least can say
There are leaves growing on them, and the grass has earned
   Those deer now chewing it contentedly.
It is a summer when she reappears, 

   And you, waiting statue, see her move back again
Into your field of vision, walk towards this place
   From a direction only you were free
To imagine, on a path only you two share,
   Her dress and purpose your own choice, her face
Whatever shape you hoped it might retain
   — Yet entering not by a ceremonial stair,
But by a side-door and quite silently.

Sonnet at Sixty-Four

You think of the various things you've never done,
Like going to Greenland, or riding a horse
— Which is unlikely now, though you confess
That if well paid to play Kutuzov . . . And wasn't there one
Great idea you used to have, now of course
Too late to try for: a dignified progress,
Serving an honourable government,
To the House of Lords, relaunched with a different name?
Only yesterday I thought, Come to that, you've never spent
A few measly quid to have an epigram
Or a picture done in the form of a tattoo
On . . . some suitable organ. So I stopped on a yellow line
And scanned the small shop-window. And read this sign
— At last, the AIDS-free needle – here – for you!

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