María Teresa González Sweet dreams
Have sweet dreams
Even if they are not of me
And you are not at my side.
May the gods favour you
With a rich harvest where
Love is handsomely sown.
On your journey find the best path
For your light feet.
May there be leafy glades on the way
To shade you from the sun
That dawns on dazzling mornings
After the slow rosy fingers
May you be able to achieve the divine gift
Faced with facts,
Even when they seem childish.
May everything that time
Writes upon your skin
Leave you fresh and new.
May your senses burn alive
And may you love,
And when you have to suffer, be brave.
Wisdom to your hands
In learning how to love,
Summoning the contorted faces of love.
A radiant smile,
An encouraging word
For those less lucky than you,
So that, from time to time,
You can dedicate a memory to me.
María Teresa González (1950-1995) is an Asturian poet. I have been reading the Obra Completa (Trabe: Oviedo, 2008) which includes poetry in Asturianu and in Castellano. It is colloquial, direct poetry dealing with intimate experiences in daily life. If you have been following my blog you will know that there is a burning question in my mind regarding Galician poetry: what happened to all the women poets after Rosalía de Castro? The same goes for Asturias. I get the sensation that men are able to control the literary establishment and that women do the most interesting work.
I really don’t want women to emulate men because I find a lot of what men do bombastic and self-serving. Maybe that sounds sexist: I don’t mean it too. I remember walking around the Tate Gallery in London when I was a lot younger and being transfixed by a Gwen John portrait. The chalky lightness of it is still with me after all these years occupying a unique spot of tranquility in my reflective mind, like a compass point of calm. Here is a link to the painting that hit me.
It took me a lot longer to see much worth in Augustus John, her more “successful” brother. I suppose I am rather inclined to look the other way when someone comes over as a brilliant enfant terrible: my English diffidence.
The connection between Gwen John and Ma Teresa González popped into my head in part because I appreciate the intimacy of both. In González’s Asturian poetry there is a kind of sadness that seems to have roots in the same tradition of heart-longing and attachment that informs Galician poetry. In her Castilian poetry, by contrast, she can be wonderfully erotic and this reminds me that dear old Gwen was the lover of that gargantuan old goat Rodin!
If you had beheld the
Soft wool of their hair
Curled in a ball on the skylights-
Those bodies coupling
With indiscreet pleasure-
You would come to my eyes blinded
To the tremor which comes over
My neck and my thighs,
To the wild trotting of my breasts.