Poem a Day 2014: Luis Palés Matos, “Gallo” (#26)

Back home, especially in the coastal areas of the country, cockfighting, the world’s oldest spectator sport, is a deep-rooted passion and a way of life. Whatever one feels about the questionable use of animals for violence and gambling, I think one would be hard-pressed to not palpably feel the warmth, pride, and dazzling, fiery light with which Luis Palés Matos has imbued the subject of his poem:

Via demotix.com

Via demotix.com

“El Gallo”

Un botonazo de luz,
luz amarilla, luz roja.
En la contienda, disparo
de plumas luminosas.
Energía engalanada
de la cresta a la cola
—ámbar, oro, terciopelo—
lujo que se deshoja
con heroico silencio
en la galera estentórea.
Rueda de luz trazada
ante la clueca remolona,
la capa de la ala abierta
y tendida en ronda…

Gallo, gallo del trópico.
Pico que destila auroras.
Relámpago congelado.
Paleta luminosa.
¡Ron de plumas que bebe
la Antilla brava y tórrida!

A/N, 4/26/2014: While I was going to wait to translate this poem myself, I realize that this might take a while (the end of semester fast approacheth). So in the interest of those who cannot read Spanish, I am including an English translation of “Gallo” by Julio Marzán (note that the spelling of “heroicaly” and “palatte” are found in the original source, and so have been kept here):

“The Gamecock”

A foil-thrust of light,
yellow light, red light.
In the fight, a shot
of radiant feathers.
Energy decked out
from crest to tail
—amber, gold, velvet—
opulence that molts
heroicaly silent
in shout-filled arenas.
Luminous wheel traced
round the clucking hen,
open his plume cape
cloakingly stretched…

Rooster, cock of the tropics.
Beak distillery of dawns.
Congealed lightning bolt.
Dazzling palatte.
Plumed rum to quench
the sweltering Island defiant!

NPM from feministing

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3 Responses to Poem a Day 2014: Luis Palés Matos, “Gallo” (#26)

  1. Emma Alden says:

    Would you be willing to translate it to English? ❤


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