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JOSEP CARNER (1884 - 1970)


THE OLDEST MAN IN THE VILLAGE (Prose translation by Sam Abrams)

No wind stirs the least wisp of hope, from every cloud descends nothing but disquiet, destiny sinks deep into adversity, perhaps the night will be night for a hundred years.

Yet fate does not lessen my impatience for what I have wished for and blessed so much even though my frailty declares that the time is approaching for body and spirit to bid each other farewell.

Perhaps I have exceeded my days and at some unfamiliar turn my end awaits me. Let me fall, unchanged,

still honouring, on a straight road, with moist eyes and loving heart, a tattered piece of cloth, that was once a flag.
AT THE GATE OF AN INN (Translation by Enric Bou)

The glare of the deserted street
closes my eyes. Meanwhile a man
chips gravel and it is his life
he chips. A young woman holds court
under a very dusty grapevine:
she chases the turn of the hour with her deception
I see someone sleeping with a rush basket
under his head. A cap hides
his sleepiness which is abridging his day.
Temporal people! Me, the man from town,
with different gestures and tongue,
I sip, standing there, tedium, the only philter
to lengthen our useless life.