Offcourse Literary Journal

Two Poems from Árbol Desatado, by Carlos Barbarito.


And my heart owns a doubt
Whether 'tis in us to arise with day
And save ourselves unaided.
English version by Brian Cole.
Robert Frost, Storm Fear.
Nada crece excepto el pasto. Nothing grows except the grass.
Nada salta a la vista salvo alguna piedra Nothing leaps into sight except some stone
y lo que la piedra contiene y resguarda. and what the stone continues and protects.
Aquí, lejos de la playa, Here, far from the beach,
lejos del sitio donde el agua far from the place where the water
devuelve cada tanto returns every so often
metales oxidados, enmohecidas maderas, rusted metal, mouldy wood,
algún cadáver de delfín o de tortuga. the corpse of a dolphin or a turtle.
No sopla el viento capaz de empujarnos The wind does not blow with the force
hacia lo entonces prometido. to propel us as far as the promised then.
Los minutos que pasan se hacen horas The minutes that pass become hours
pero jamás días y sí noches but never days, they become nights
que jamás consienten en ser años that never agree to be years,
y sí siglos en los que alguien muere and centuries in which somebody dies
y otro, que lo ignora, bosteza. and someone else, who does not know it, yawns.



(Grosmont Castle: The Great Chimney.) English version by Ricardo Nirenberg.
Otros son los muertos. Flotan The dead are not like us. Suspended
en el silencio del mediodía, nostálgicos in the midday still, they miss
de la saciedad y la sed. Se alejan, satiety and thirst. They wane,
no se alejan. Tienen ojos que no usan, yet stay. Their eyes are set aside,
manos que no acarician, por gusto their hands do not caress, eager
o temor, la pétrea materia verdinegra. or fearful, the stony mossy stuff.
Otros llevan lámparas apagadas, They carry extinguished lamps,
visten raídos capotes, esgrimen escudos rotos. threadbare raincoats, broken shields.
Nos abrazamos y es luz, retamas hasta el horizonte, We hug and all lights up, broom as far as one can see,
asentado presente. Entonces, a settled present moment. We feel
es la respiración de cada hierba each grass blade's breath
apretada contra otra hierba pressed against another blade
o solitaria, lo que se manifiesta, or by itself:
nos alcanza y atraviesa, it catches up to us and pierces through,
torna de a poco y de nuevo madera then slowly turns back into wood
a lo que era apenas aserrines dispersos en el aire. that which was sawdust scattered in the air.


Carlos Barbarito was born in 1955 in Pergamino, a small town in the Argentine Pampas. Since 1985, he has published numerous volumes of poetry and received many prestigious prizes. His work also appears in the internet at,,

Brian Cole was born in Southhampton in 1932 and lives near London. After a career in business he now runs Brindin Press. His translation of Pablo Neruda's "The Captain's Verses" was published by Anvil Press in 1994. In 2000 Arc Publications published "Anthracite", a selection of his translations from the Italian of Bartolo Cattafi - this collection was a "Recommended Translation" by the Poetry Book Society. In August 2001 Brindin Press published his translations of Circe Maia under the title "Yesterday a Eucalyptus", which was also chosen Recommended Translation by the PBS and awarded a translation prize by the British Centre for Literary Translation.

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