lone places no one’s been or will go.
The wolf! The eyes the back of the wolf!
The wolf comes down the wood’s eye
moving the yewtree branches
rustling along leafy paths
seeking the most isolated and fearful corner.
stops and sniffs
extends claws stretches out head and howls at the sky
with all the sky’s shadows in its mouth.
This is Uxío Novoneyra describing the wolf. Wolves are still common in Spain. One came down and ate a sheep in Carmen’s garden in the village, in spite of the howling dogs and the farmers around.
Novoneyra is talking about the Courel with areas more remote than the area of Asturias where I live. In the fifties I can easily imagine “places no one’s been or will go.”
As usual, my translation cannot match the original. Noveoneyra is a very interesting poet to me personally because he walks. The words grow out of the landscape from which they are taken. In the dedication of the book (to Carlos Maside and Ramón Piñeiro) he says:
The words of this book are true in the high, lonely lands of the Courel. In them so as not to cause injury to things I name them or allow them to go along with their own natural and customary movement
I understand this to mean that the poetry itself is not so much written as discovered. There is certainly all the aesthetic quality of objects in the words. I can’t explain it well. But look at these two lines:
O lobo! Os ollos o lombo do lobo!
Baixa o lobo polo ollo do bosco.
And now tell me whether they could not be coming out of the mouth of the wolf.