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 thoughts on “lunera

      • 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?

        • 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

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

  2. 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,

  3. 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.

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  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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…

  9. 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

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