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For a Candle's Flame.

A tribute to Luis Fernandez

 The shadowed room is not a firmament in which objects glow
like the sky of August glows outside, illuminated.
 It is another firmament. The naked objects throb, alive, the paper on
the nightstand, the glass, the pencil,
the beloved lead, the humble wood, the faithful, precise stroke, still
sharp on the page. Outside, it rains. In the distance,
the lightning strikes, brief sign, one flame embracing another.
Radiance, which barely illuminates and seems
to make the darkness even darker, leaps in silence from the candle.
Single, visible flame that yet summons
the invisible, tongue of humble silence, defeated, solitary, light of
darkness, of unknowing.
This lightning will return to the source, or to its nothingness, to its
beating cloud, to the primal subject of its subject.
In the room, in silence, only one flame occupies the mind, it is the
sole truth on the table, one's entire
dispossession. Here, a candle lit in its nothingness goes out, humbly,
at its source, beckoning flame.
The brief candle lights up in silence, in the middle of the night.
Solitary, unique, umbral possession: the dark flame. 

Andres Sanchez Robayna (b. 1952, Santa Brigida, Spain) has released books of poetry, essays, and translations. He completed a PhD in philology at the University of Barcelona in 1977, directed the magazines Literradura and Syntaxis, and is currently professor of Spanish literature at the University of La Laguna.

Luis Fernandez, born in Oviedo in 1900, was a Spanish painter and a participant in the Montparnasse artistic scene during the 1920s and '30s. He died in Paris in 1973.

Translations from the Spanish By Arthur Dixon & Daniel Simon

Editorial note: The Spanish versions of all these poems appear in Las dos hermanas: Antologia de la poesia espanola e hispanoamericana del siglo XX sobre pintura, ed. Enrique Andres Ruiz (FCE, 2011).

Arthur Dixon is a translator and an intern at World Literature Today. He studies Spanish-language literature and Latin American history at the University of Oklahoma.

Daniel Simon is the editor in chief of World Literature Today. His chapbook of poems. Cast Off, came out in September, and a full-length verse collection, Incarnations, is forthcoming in 2016.

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Title Annotation:Five Spanish Art Poems
Author:Robayna, Andres Sanchez
Publication:World Literature Today
Date:Nov 1, 2015
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