Oct 30, 2010

Salvador Espriu's Homeland

Trial Hymn in the Temple

by Salvador Espriu

Oh, how tired I am of my
craven old brutish land,
and how I’d like to get away from it
to the north,
where they say people are clean
and noble, learned, rich, free
wide-awake and happy.
Then, in the congregation, the brothers would say
disapprovingly: “Like a bird who leaves the nest
is that man who forsakes his place,”
while I, now far away, would laugh
at the law and ancient wisdom
of this, my arid village.
But I must never follow my dream
and I’ll stay here till I die.
For I’m craven and brutish too.
And what’s more I love, with a
desperate grief,
this my poor,
dirty, sad, unlucky homeland.

(As read by Laurie Anderson in 2008,
at the KOSMOPOLIS International Literature Fest / Made in CataluNYA.
Translation by Magda Bogin)

  • Read it here - along with the other Catalonian poems read by Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and Patti Smith.

  • Listen to it - Mnemosyne's improvised piano accompaniment to Laurie Anderson's reading (audio length: 1 min 12 secs, file size: 1.1 MB).