I See You; The Animal Gaze for EarthWeal and the Nature of Poetry in Spanish and English.

Owl for Ruth’s exhibition

I see you on my terrace;

You see me see you.

Your eyes hold onto mine.

You move through the trees of my life,

You hide within the fallen leaves

Of my dreams.

I was not expecting you

To arrive so close to me,

To fix your eyes on mine.

Then fade away so soon

Into the lighter lines

And shadows,

An imprint

On my being.

………

Spanish

La Vida En La Huerta

Te veo en mi terrazzo

Me observas

Me sostienes la mirada

Te mueves entre los árboles

De mi vida

Oculto entre las hojas caidas

De mi sueños.

No esperé

Que llegaras tan cerca

Que fijaras tu mirada en la mia

Y que desvanecerias en un instante

Entre la Luz

Y las sombras

Dejando una huella

Sobre mi ser.

I am writing this poem in response to Earthweal’s post about the ‘gaze of wild animals’ .

https://earthweal.com/

Apologies for combining this with Dverse’s open link night but in reference to their post on the Spanish Poetry form Seguidilla this fits my style of writing this poem and just happens to combine with Earthweal’s theme of ‘The Animal Gaze. There is also a really inspiring Rilke poem about this theme in the post and as always inspiring links to poets and poems on Dverse.

The Seguidilla form is found onDverse for 11th March and this is for Open Link Night. https://dversepoets.com/

I first wrote this poem for my friend’s art exhibition in our local village in the Sierra Aracena. When I wrote it I wanted the nature of the poem to be easy to read and in a certain Spanish style with short line lengths. I also wanted it to honour the wonderful and expressive art of my friend Ruth Koenigsberger. I have featured a lot of her art in previous poetry posts like the Blackbird Singing at the Start of Spring.

Ruth was trying to capture the wild animals in her wonderful garden and orchard. The exhibition was titled ‘La Vida en La Huerta’ The Life of the Orchard. Huerta is a combination of vegetable garden, orchard, some fields that many people living in a village would own as a smallish plot and mostly organic and wildlife friendly except for the need to keep the ploughing boar out.

I once looked into the eyes of a wild mother boar. I was behind my ‘boar proof fence’ in my huerta. I later read that boar are quite short sighted. That might have been why she stared for so long but finally ran off gathering up her stripey young ones. I stood very still and did hope that the fence would be strong enough but she wasn’t trapped and could easily run off as is the main thing I find most wild animals do.

I think Earthweal’s post so important. There is so much ‘knowing’ in the look of so many wild animals. And I love the idea of the whales looking deep within us. I have seen whales too in the Azores but they have not seen me or they have but certainly did not meet me eye to eye. That must be so special.

Another friend translated the poem into Spanish and tried to make it sound ‘poetic’ in the flow of the Spanish language. I am delighted to learn from Dverse about the Spanish form Seguidilla and somehow wonder at my attempt then was possibly based on reading Spanish poems in this sort of form. My poem is of course not a Seguidilla but free verse in what I hoped was a Spanish style. I was very heartened by many comments from local people on how much they identified with the poem. We all talked about the animals that had looked into our eyes and for many it was the array of lizards, geckos, salamanders but also birds too.

Fire Salamander
Ocellated lizard

Spoonbill looking down at me from one of my trips with Ruth to Donana Wetlands.

44 thoughts on “I See You; The Animal Gaze for EarthWeal and the Nature of Poetry in Spanish and English.”

  1. What a lovely, lively response to the earthweal challenge! The gaze we are caught up in becomes a chapel in reflection, I’m sure — a place of encounter and silent messages we translate into poetry. Loved it. Great that you posted in English and Spanish — it’s like the added fovea in the hawk’s eye, two languages speak more adequately …

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    1. Thanks Brendan, it was such an inspiring post and the work was there as it is something I am fascinated by and my friend, the artist too. Getting that expression into the lines and shadows of her art.

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  2. I enjoyed this poem and it works so well in both languages. I must read more Spanish poetry so I don’t forget the language! As a language, Spanish seems more naturally poetic than English, with less word-play required! I met a baby boar on Montserrat once, but thankfully not his mother!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ingrid, it was helped by a Spanish poet changing parts to make it sound good in Spanish and not just a translation. I find the whole issue about sounds interesting. It was really good to listen to the Dverse readings on You Tube instead of my normal read and of course to see people!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I admire how you captured the meeting of eyes in the opening lines, Georgina, and the way it haunts the human – is the animal as haunted by the human eyes? I wonder. I love the lines ‘You hide within the fallen leaves /
    Of my dreams’ and the beautiful fading away ‘Into the lighter lines /
    And shadows / An imprint / On my being.’

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      1. You’re welcome. It’s a nice change of pace to have an animal (besides domesticated ones) stay put and actually take a look at us. Most of the time they are fleeing for their lives.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Clare, I hope all well I must catch up. I tried to respond once to a post of yours after Christmas but by email. Am not sure it worked and then think
      time and memory got the better of me. Am really posting once a month now and trying to focus fully then.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Georgina, I love your poem and it captures the image perfectly. There is almost a moment of epiphany if one catches the gaze of certain animals, unsettling how they seem to see our souls, the look leaving ‘an imprint’! Your friend Ruth is a talented and gifted artist and I am not surprised her work is so well-liked and twinned beautifully here with your written work. The two a powerful combination. Well done and a post that will stay with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a very powerful poem Georgina, I can feel the pull of the gaze, the holding of it, all through the poem. I love those occasions of connection. I remember one with a deer in particular – she was only a couple of metres away and we held each others’ gaze before she bounded off into the forest.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Delightful posting! And it is a cool experience to look deep into the eyes of an animal and see how they are looking at you. I often gaze into my cats’ eyes and marvel at how they can watch me with different expressions in their eyes. The other day a groundhog and I were watching one another and it was so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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