THREE POEMS BY PEDRO MIR
Tr Jonathan Cohen
SONNET OF THE YOUNG GIRL
Yes, the girl was young, her gaiety
was young, her near-flat chest
was young and her slouchiness
was young, even younger yet.
With her reputation, as the day’s
dialectic contains a minute,
her fruitful looks contained her
in crystal and in images of fruit.
Fiery fine blood and tender roses
at the lily-shaped peak of her legs
aroused various bonds and, so,
with her reputation, hot stuff and lonely,
night carried her off through the poppies
with a man tangled between her feet.
SONNET OF THE PURE GIRL
She was the pure kind. With a strange
charming way of spinning in her eyes,
she was the pure kind, the evening kind,
and she swiftly spun her silken web.
Although an eerie glow grew bright
and brighter, she was pure and shy.
I had no cabin there close by.
Ronsard washed the hill with light . . .
It was a fair two-way experience.
And, so, culminating her adolescence
on her golden navel, almost a flower,
wearing the knapsack I had for my trip,
I said to myself at the threshold of her hips:
“No lover yet has ever passed through here . . .”
SONNET OF THE PREGNANT GIRL
She loved. She was all of herself
in the roaring of her erect breasts.
A gaze up toward the ceiling.
A goodbye to time. She was mine.
We used to scream on a narrow
ridge of eternity and she received
my faultless blood, in her state
as a woman toppled in bed.
But love she did in all her natural
abundance and her mouth exhaled
a fragrance like violets and tuberoses.
And thus I uncovered him, otherwise
asleep on a story, as his breath turned,
a little boy
with my brown eyes.
Pedro Mir was the official poet laureate of the Dominican Republic from the early 1980s until his death in 2000. He continues to be revered among both literary and non-literary readers in virtually all sectors of Dominican society. A socially-committed poet, he published asingular book of love poems in 1969, Poemas de buen amor . . . y a veces de fantasía (Poems of Good Love . . . and Sometimes Fantasy), the source of the poems published here.
Jonathan Cohen is an award-winning translator of major Latin American poets, including Ernesto Cardenal, Enrique Lihn, and Pedro Mir, among others. His Mir translations include Countersong to Walt Whitman and Other Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2018) and Two Elegies of Hope (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019). For more info, please visit jonathancohenweb.com.