Toledo in a Storm (El Greco)
Jose Luis Puerto
Plunging down from the heavens
Over battlements and towers:
Upon the august city
Outlined in the white traces of silver,
Falls the storm and its fury.
The city defenseless among the hills
Surrenders to vertigo,
To conflagrations of light and shadow.
Enshrouding the river's gorge
A deep obscurity refutes the world.
Is that the space we inhabit?
Who lives in those buildings wrought
By the master masons' hands?
Lights snatched up in a whirling
Vortex ignite the expanse.
Don't you see the trees, the plants,
The country house, the grasses
Flashing in the color they succumb to
Among the penumbras' interstices?
It is within us, in our own abode:
That arena tempest-tossed,
That vertigo murky and vertical,
Which the wingspan of light illuminates
With blue, with silver and green.
Translated from the Spanish by Michael Bradburn-Ruster
Jose Luis Puerto was born in Salamanca in 1953. He has published several poetry books, including El tiempo que nos teje (The Time That Ties to Us, 1982), Un jardln al olvido (A Garden of Forgetfulness, winner of the prize: Premio Adonais de 1986), Paisaje de invierno (Landscape of Winter, 1993) and Estelas ( Wakes, 1991) as well as a book of prose Las cordilleras del alba (1991), an ethnographic study, in addition to diverse other ethnographic works.
Michael Bradburn-Ruster, a native of Carmel, California, has published poetry, translations, and scholarly works in the U.S., Britain, and Canada, in journals such as Berkeley Poetry Review, Rain City Review, Antigonish Review, Crab Creek Review, Romantics Quarterly, and Full Circle Journal. He received a doctorate from UC Berkeley, and has taught literature, philosophy, comparative religions and world mythology in California, Oregon, and Arizona. His book, The Angel or the Beast, explores the interplay of philosophy, mysticism, theology and literature in Renaissance and Baroque Spain in relation to recent cultural crises. He teaches at Yavapai College and lives in Arizona.
Copyright 2005© Jose Luis Puerto, Michael Bradburn-Ruster