Xosé Vázquez Pintor

Xosé Vázquez Pintor- The Longing Won’t Win Out

The longing won’t win out
if only the summers keep ready after so much
winter, which leaves us scared like the cloud
that comes from the Tropic and suddenly it drops below zero.
Around about now we’ll all be getting old, that
station where the train comes from afar without warning
and makes its last stop
for the final hi, welcome, what’s up, a coffee
with milk and now what doesn’t matter is the track that
is behind you because the journey is
only short and a sign on the platform reminds you that, no,
there’s no going back to man’s end but a metaphor
of return, a voucher buffet
that is rented out in dreams and is so pricey that
it would maybe have been better not to have seen it, ever.

Xosé Vázquez Pintor, No Corazón Mancado (1989)

Xosé Vázquez Pintor was born in Melide in 1946. I have a particular affection for Melide because I work on the Camino de Santiago and Melide is one of the beads on the rosary that leads to Santiago. It is a medium-sized town on a crossroads a the heart of Galicia where the four provinces join like the sponge pieces of a slice of Battenburg cake.

It seemed appropriate to follow yesterday’s poem by Héctor Pérez Iglesias with something by Vázquez Pintor. Both poets are dealing with longing: soedade or señardá, depending on whether you are Galego or Asturianu. Both poets have an eye for local detail and do not shy away from slipping modern touches into their verse. Both poets make use of line-endings that keep the word-flow moving like a jazz improvisation:

after so much// winter
getting old, that// station
a coffee// with milk

and, cleverly, this line:

now what doesn’t matter is the track that
is behind you

and again this:

a metaphor
of return

It is ironic to say that saudade will not win out in a poem that is all about things that are strangely, dreamily out of reach. Man’s End- Cabo Home- comes up in Cangas 2 as well, Onde o mar non chega a ser adulto. Cabo Home is a real place near Cangas in Pontevedra, but in this poem it is not capitalised like a place name. It evidently has a double meaning. What is the end of man? In that poem he explains it like this:

And that’s the way we are, two universes of happiness
up to the confines of Cabo Home, Cíes, Soavela…
where I dream of you my friends in the loving
embrace of the water and the flowers when
the sun is called April and never winter.

I find it strangely moving.

I have been using:
Xosé Vázquez Pintor
Seara: Obra Poética (1971-2011)
Espiral Maior: A Coruña, 2011

About Jason Preater

Working on Projects
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