The poems of the old century hold their magic. “Cemetery in Snow” by Xavier Villaurrutia is such a poem. You can think about the poem several ways but because the subject is so singular it is trapped in the glass of its making. Shake it and the letters will settle back in some insensible way, burying the cemetery just so. The poem was probably not so much a matter of writing as of polishing glass, clarifying silence, making each different letter fall the same way.
4 thoughts on “Snowglobe”
at this time of year i always return to an inner image of my own. the japanese inkmarks of a fallen wooden fence. a haiku of black against deepening snow. the lines blurring on the map of the real. thank you for this.
i cannot find an english translation. could you share one?
CEMETERY IN THE SNOW
Nothing can be compared to a cemetery in the snow.
What name can be given to whiteness on top of white?
The sky has dropped indifferent stones of snow
and now all that’s left is snow on snow
like a hand resting on itself for all eternity.
Birds choose to slice through the sky,
wounding invisible corridors in the air
in order to leave the snow alone,
which is like leaving it virgin,
which is like leaving it snow.
Because it is just not enough to say that a cemetery in the snow
is like dreamless sleep
nor eyes left blank.
If something has a sleeping insensible body
from the fall of one silence over another
and from the white persistence of oblivion,
then there’s nothing that can be compared
to a cemetery in the snow!
Because above all snow is silence,
made even more silent on top of bloodless gravestones:
lips made wordless.
That’s a translation I found. Can’t seem to find the translator’s name. There are others though, from Beckett’s translations of Mexican poetry to possibly even Merwin if I’m remembering correctly. Hope this one is okay.