Antonio Machado: Covers by Daniel Evans Pritchard




A stork at the bell tower’s peak
circled around its height and around the home below
as the little swallows squealed. Dry winds have crossed
a long, long winter of snow, escaping the inferno.

_________Tomorrow, it might be nice.
Today, the sun bakes the poor earth of Soriana.

The pines are so green they’re
nearly blue and spring
electrifies the poplar blooms
along the highway
and the river, the Duero running gently, terse and mute.

The landscape isn’t innocent; it is down-soft, ripe and cleft.
In the weeds a solitary, shy flower unfolds,
blue—or white… Beauty, beauty tremendous: the meadow unflowered yet,
the mystic spring—

albas flanking the white streets and riverbanks poplar-flush,
and the frothing apex of the mountain
is outlined in remotest blue,
the daysun rising, clearest day—
enchanted, this vision of Spain!



The golden April morning smiled
_____and the pearl moon
_____into the cleave
_________of the curved horizon,
with viscous
_________running her down—
translucent ghosts
_____the last stars.
I cracked my window
_____to a dawn
________of pink
_____and the bright Oriental sun,
________inhaled the eastern glow
the skylark’s trill song,
_____the fountain’s
the gentle perfume
_____of early flowers.
Ponderous, the afternoon
_____stretched out
_____and out
________but April
still smiled so I threw
_____the windows open
________wide to a wind full of rosewater
______and church bells
The distant echoing bells
_____cried out the soft smell
________of the blooms.
How far
________are the fields,
petal bursting?
_____Do church bells
into the rose-scented wind?
_____Will happiness
in this little hovel—
_____or has it come
_____sent away by silence
_______the confessor
of the tolling wind—
_____and now
_______will it ever return?



While the fire-scaled courser passes zenith
under fathomless indigo, just over the cypress,
while a blind boy dissolves into white stone
and cicadas in the elm sing ivory incantations,
I praise the hand that, with its slightest gesture,
its raised finger, hushes all this clamor.

God is distant, my mind absent—an anchor’s
depth of calm under the frothing, brim-full sea.
Entranced by green pastures, I translate the din
of ṣalāt aẓ-ẓuhr into passagways that open within…

This vale of shadow and my heart’s hunger
praise the breathless void, the rough stone,
bodiless before the chisel, unburdened of form,
of reason, left in its obsidian dream, faith.



distant the dawn rose
_____bleeding tragedies
on the canvas of the east
grotesque of clouds
in the village plaza
_____a skeletal horror
crude pine ribs
of a gallows rose
distant______the dawn rose
the sinister_______dawn

* *

Image via

PritchardDaniel Evans Pritchard is a poet and critic from Boston. He is the founding editor of The Critical Flame, a journal of long-form reviews and criticism, and works as the Marketing Director for Boston Review. His poems have appeared in The Battersea Review, Little Star, Fulcrum, and elsewhere. Currently working on a new English-language edition of Antonio Machado’s poetry, Daniel has also tried his hand at translations of Sergio Raimundi, Selen Catalina Arango Rodríguez, José Agustín Goytisolo, Rafael Alberti, and Juan Ramón Jiménez, among others. All art is a form of transcendent failure, none more so than translation.
MachadoAntonio Machado (1875–1939) was a Spanish poet and a key figure in the cultural movement known as the Generation of ’98. His work dwells on the landscapes of Spain, especially Castilla, and is influenced by medieval poetry, French surrealism, social realism, spiritual conflicts, and the philosophy of Henri Bergson. Contemporary poets such as Geoffrey Hill, Derek Walcott, and Robert Bly have acknowledged his impact on their own work.

Published on October 8th of 2013 in Poetry, Time Regained.

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