María Esther García López

Winter Weather
Tiempu d’ivernu (Medú: Granda Siero, 2005)

Misty Weather

Let me tell you sweet things
In this misty weather.
Let me tell you I love you.
Maybe while we wait for things to clear
We can savour the essence
Of the tale we have so often told each other.
Let me love you intensely
In this misty weather.

Let me coddle your voice
In my warm hands.
My body burns
Your skin
And we tremble with love
In this sea of darkness.

I live in Asturias, in the mountain village of Villandás.  People in the village speak Asturianu.  Some pepper a language that is basically Castilian Spanish with phrases and words; others are more difficult to understand.  They are the older generation of hill farmers with their cows on the high pastures and a vigorous life of healthy exercise.
As a student at school I supposed that Spanish was the language of Spain.  That was a time when you got an education in order to lose your accent and a rural dialect, like the Somerset dialect where I grew up, would mark you as a yokel, a bumpkin and, sadly, a disappearing vestige of a past that was being sucked under by modern farming business.
No one speaks zummerzet any more, but Asturianu is a language with possibilities in part because the Principáu d’Asturies, the local government, promotes the language and gives resources to schools to teach it.
María Esther García López is a teacher and academic, a member of the Academia de la Llingua Asturianu.  I have read her Tiempu dínviernu several times.  I was attracted to it at first by the combination of image and text- the simple black-and-white ink drawings that accompany the poems are the work of Juan Ignacio Fernández Alava, a young artist born in 1978 whose work appeared in the Injuve exhibition of 2007.
The collection is bleak with a reduced metaphorical palette: inside/outside, warm/cold, you/me, sun/ice, mist/light.  This is not poetry dressed up in pretty phrases and sentiments.  It is a steady look at the human condition: resolutely physical, because we are bodies enjoying and suffering our loves and desires and afflicted by loss.  Winter becomes the grand moving image of the whole collection.  It is a winter that overtakes us all:
Winter will come
I will be a puff of cotton
In the universe
Winter will come.
Since I have been reading so much Galician poetry I cannot help but reflect on the similarities and differences between this poetry and Galego.  I found the following poem particularly moving.  It is also beautifully clear:


How hard it is
To take the last journey
In a cold car
Bound for nowhere
Not knowing what awaits
At the afternoon’s end.
How hard it is
When the tired body
Gives up
In a moment.
How hard it is
To be unable to help you
When you beg me sobbing
To pull away the shadow
That surrounds you
Without pity
At the afternoon’s end.

When you write this kind of personal poetry the industry of literature with its celebrities, book-signings and round table discussions must seem insubstantial and the poet has left her vision of ‘them’, the experts:

It’s them
They are always the same
The famous
The holy
The talented
They bark as if they were dogs,
They spew up intelligent words,
They devour texts,
Mutilate poems,
And drink the wind.
They travel around the world
Like ghosts
Searching for places with ‘glamour’,
Immortal places
Where the source of inspiration is.
Literary gatherings,
Meetings and groups of experts.
And they sow their genetically-modified
Words which reproduce
And grow and give poor fruit
That never ripens
But feeds bohemian
It’s them.

About Jason Preater

Working on Projects
This entry was posted in Asturianu, Contemporary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to María Esther García López

  1. D. R. Garcia says:

    We would very much like to contact María Esther García López about the schools in Arnao. Can anyone give me an email address we can use to contact her. Thank you.
    D. R. Garcia


  2. Hoy, por casualidad encontré estos comentarios a mis poemas de Tiempu d’iviernu.. Me sorprendí gratamente.
    Voy a intentar ponerme en contacto con usted, en la dirección que me indica.
    Pero puede escribirme a :
    Mª Esther García López


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s