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          (MOTION PICTURE)

Slowly slowly lifting into the air,
will they fly perhaps?

The atmosphere becomes gray,
How much more solid now
the denser gray!
Slowly and with cautious touch
the legs unfold
advancing across
an evening sky with moon.
Unswerving the heads, noiseless,
more and more withdrawn into silence,
the manes still motionless
backs outstretched,
the horses ascend.
Will they fly perhaps with no tremor of wing
at the moon's pace?
And without touching the clumsy earth
the feet keeping time
—to what music?—
hover celestial
by virtue of mysterious abandon.
Or by virtue of caution?

No longer needed, the riders yield
—what use are bridles now?—
to the smooth sonambulant steeds.
Lured by darkness, they
lean again toward the earth,
barely grazing it at last
without breaking the wonder,
rebounding, flying off to the endlessly
fascinating expanse.

The horses move onward not looking.
And one stumbles.
With supreme sinuous courtesy
it touches, falls, curls,
curves toward the dark,
races on immersed in silence!
The eyes show more white.
The steelier grays
over the motionless torpor of the world.
Behind woeful barricades
blotches of crowds
with their crude dark murmurs
fade away.
The horses ascend, descend, tread,
tread on a point, move on,
blindly with utter accuracy,
more and more quietly, floating, light,
passing, slipping.
How skillfully the sidereal grays
how artfully the phantoms
automatons of the sky,
spirits—stars in their trance
unhurried, secure!

Unhurried entirely?
That passion for slowness now,
is it not yet quick?
was it not already quickness?
Quickness in obvious seconds,
visible and tangible,
that stop the gyrations
of before
in that center of the whirlwind:
Corpuscles, seconds, sandstone
of the slowest compact reality.

Grace of such cherished tranquillity!
Spirit at last,
the animals hover
over gentle meadows.
There below the obstacle
over the dark earth.
Silence. Murmurs of the crowd
from cornices and branches
will disappear.
In the spacious grasslands insects
will hush,
and iron foliage
will have forged itself alone.
Some flower there
will unfurl its petals to the full.

How slow in becoming!
Gallop, horses, gallop.
Implacable, elegant,
the calm endures.
So many unfailing exquisite props
behind haste!

Enfolding in its gray,
patience roams
among the corpuscles of the sphere,
extends its net
over the slow sheltered zones.
Among numberless seconds
they hide, then reappear,
the stellar bodies
—and those horses alone—
above alone over the panorama.
Hint of hooves, light and polished
pieces of stone!

Soaring through the skies
go stellar horses.


Jorge Guillén
Translated by Cola Franzen

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Primera serie. Cántico. Fe de Vida
2. Las horas situadas
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