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  • The Traveler
  • José Manuel Cardona (bio)
    Translation from Spanish by Hélène Cardona

Inhospitable city. Grizzledsolitary travelers, we leftour sight behind.It was Ithaca and in Ithaca the inclemencyof slow sunrises like rain

that impregnates all and breeds nothing.The oracle throbbed on our temples,the prophetic word roseand the ships receded and under the spellof subdued signsit guided our stepsrecedingsprouting in our dreamsbeyond the archways and templesinflaming the mastswith bellows or portents or signsthat would hardly be known and neverbe heard again.

Inhospitable city. Only shadowswere we to be. Unplowed.And the dream will cloakthe earth with snow and oblivion.

There will be no return ever.Why the will to always move forwardto go deeper into foreststo embrace the maelstrom? [End Page 14]

It was at times the jasmine, then the roseand the fields of rockrose and lavenderat times the hyacinths, the broomand at others the iris.Inhospitable city. Seafaringlove with no other horizon or bannerthan the debris of shipwrecks flutteringlike a torchlight. [End Page 15]

José Manuel Cardona

José Manuel Cardona (1928–2018) was a poet from Ibiza, Spain. His books include El Vendimiador, Poemas a Circe, and El Bosque de Birnam: Antología poética. He was also the coeditor of several literary journals and wrote for many publications. The Franco regime forced him into exile in France, and for most of his life he worked for the United Nations, living in Geneva, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Belgrade, Sofia, Kiev, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Panama, and elsewhere.

Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona is a poet, translator, and actor. Her books include the bilingual poetry volumes Life in Suspension, Dreaming My Animal Selves, and The Astonished Universe. Her books of translations into English include Birnam Wood by José Manuel Cardona and Beyond Elsewhere by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac. Her awards include the Naji Naaman Literary Prize, Hemingway grant, and fellowships from the Goethe-Institut.



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