because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

lunera

the young moon is
strung up
above the river looking
like a pale imitation
of herself,
a soul-thief who
gypsy dances
her way though mid-
winter madrugadas seducing
me to desperation
with silken slipknots
hung
between each
shadowed star.

You can find the original version in Spanish here. I’ve kept a few words that just didn’t give the same feel in English: madrugadas are early mornings— think partying-all-night-till-three-or-four-a.m. early. Lunera itself comes from “moon,” but, well… two WordReference sites, a handful of language forums, Google translator and a Guatemalan boyfriend all failed me in finding a direct translation. (Thanks anyway, Omar. ;)) The sense of it, though, for me, is making the moon “personal,” i.e. addressing it more as a person  and less as a far distant chunk of rock. And it definitely has something to do with a lullaby.  ~jsl

28 responses

  1. Lovely work. Very much in the tradition of Federico Garcia Lorca, the personification of the gypsy moon. You have been writing lately!!

    February 9, 2011 at 9:12 am


    • Ray, to be honest, I didn’t think of Lorca when I was writing this, but you’re right: I should have. What did you think of the Spanish version?

      ~jsl

      February 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

      • I think “a el alma” should be “al alma.” You are correct about el alma, masculino.
        As for bailando gitano, I’m not sure that conveys gypsy-dancing to me, in where gypsy acts as a modifier or noun-adjunct. I don’t know how to say it in Spanish. Una danza gitana? Bailando como gitano? gitanesca?

        March 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

        • Thanks, Ray. I think it’s a matter of style and/or rhythm rather than rule whether or not you contract “a” and “el”; having said that, when the piece is spoken one tends to make the elision anyway, so it makes more sense to write it, I guess. Think I’m gonna go ahead and make that change.

          I agree that “bailando gitano” reads a little awkward; I can’t think of an adverb to describe “gypsy” and other options are too long-winded for what I want. But hell, I use improper modifiers in English fairly willy-nilly under the umbrella of poetic license; why not in Spanish too? 🙂

          Thanks again for your feedback.

          Best,
          –jsl

          March 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  2. I like this poem.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

  3. Brendan

    “Silken slip-knots” — what a quicksilver way to nail what the lucence of the moon can compel one to do. Great job. – Brendan

    February 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

  4. Seducing me to inspiration — what words!

    You captured that empty, alone feeling that can come from quiet and the shine of the moon. Nice!

    February 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

  5. ĐΣΛИ

    Miss,
    Yesterday evening the sun went down irrevocably behind a confusion of dirty clouds, chimney flues and telephone wires, and today it is winter. Your poem feels lonely, raw and the color of shagbark hickory. Outstanding!
    My best,

    February 9, 2011 at 10:32 am

  6. Has a certain feel of a life incomplete, or waiting for something (the re-birth of Spring perhaps?) to happen–the moon is “young” and only an imitation of itself. The pacing is excellent, the imagery sharp and clear. Very well-built and visual work.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:33 am

  7. silken slipknots hung between stars….that is an excellent image….so much to say about the moon, and much already said but you made it new…

    February 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

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  9. I really enjoyed your poem. Great showing vs. telling coupled with incredible sound and good line-endings. My favorite lines:

    a soul-thief who
    gypsy dances
    her way though mid-
    winter madrugadas

    February 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm

  10. Gay

    Beautiful and unique ways of describing a well described object. The melody and imagery is haunting. Liked esp. “a soul-thief who
    gypsy dances her way though mid-winter madrugadas” Well done. Gay @beachanny

    February 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  11. This is fabulous. The flow felt so perfect, and the feeling was powerful.

    February 10, 2011 at 2:12 am

  12. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I apologize for the lateness in responding.

    Carl– it’s always a pleasure to hear from you. 🙂

    Brendan– I’ve missed seeing you around! What happened to brendanblue?

    Gay, Andrea– I think you must have similar tastes 🙂

    Dean– your comment is poetry in itself. I’m honored.

    wkkortas– you are too kind. “visual” is what I do 😉

    Brian, ~Sarah~– Thanks so much for your time and thoughts. You’re welcome back any time!

    Cheers all,
    –jsl

    February 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

  13. Ahhh!!! Lunera.. what a beautiful way to call something so emotional and loving… I enjoyed the verse, image and the vividness with which you have painted it all. Thanks for sharing…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/02/whispers-another-kind-of-valentines-day.html

    February 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

  14. Ooohhh…had such a romantic dramatic effect to it… lovely!!
    ” soul-thief” — I like that description of the moon…it’s perfect!!

    And those last few lines…ooohh…so sensuous… and a WOW metaphor too!!

    Thoroughly enjoyed this One Shot, my friend!
    So glad to be back here!!! Missed ya…

    February 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm

  15. Wonderful poem Siubhan.
    The mood is so reflective in this

    February 12, 2011 at 6:44 am

  16. Shashi, Thank you so much for your kind words! I will be on my way to check out your own shadowdancing soon…

    Kavita, how wonderful to see you back here again! “soul-thief” was a key line for me too. *hugs*

    Richard, Thanks. Always nice to see you drop by. 🙂

    Cheers everyone,
    –jsl

    February 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

  17. Like this poem…so beautifully written!
    Love your creative work!
    All the best
    Marinela x

    February 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

  18. Pretty, image- and mood-effective work.

    February 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

  19. Marinela, Steve– Thanks for dropping by here. Appreciate your kind words. 🙂

    Best,
    –jsl

    February 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  20. A unique, and quite romanticized celestial image – a personification of the world, and one that’s certainly glittering through your words.

    February 16, 2011 at 2:26 am

  21. Just this…

    “with silken slipknots
    hung”

    Lovely. Yet bearing an undercurrent of darkness.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

  22. Chris, L.– forgive the lateness in my reply, but thanks much for stopping by here, and for your thoughtful words.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

  23. Beautiful.

    February 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  24. How am I supposed to describe this when beautiful is but an insult?

    I bow down to your ability to write. 🙂

    February 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

  25. Exemplary word choices, great line breaks and equally great flow. This is what wow-worthy poetry is about.

    March 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

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