Noriega Varela- A Worm Goes By

Don’t step on me, walker!
Insignificant pauper,
I’ve a saint’s advocacy
Who calls to the wandering wolf,
My brother, who stands in for
All the Lord’s delicacy.

 

This short poem rests on the slight dissonance of that ‘delicacy’ at the end.  What does the poet mean by finezas del Señor? The delicacy can be affectionate or well-educated, but either way it is in contrast to the wandering wolf.  As always the succession of images is compelling from worm to walker, to saint, to wolf, to God.

Noriega Varela uses a typical six line form that is common in the cancioneros or songbooks where a wandering young lad comes across a pretty maiden.  Here is an example:

When to Santiago as a pilgrim one day
I was going, a shepherd-girl I saw
Prettier than any in my life I’d say
With finer speech than any I’ve known before
So her love I petitioned and more
Composed her this rhyme straight away.

Vatican Library Cancionero, 689 from the version of Manuel Blanco

About Jason Preater

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