Of Frozen Roses and The Innumerable Candles of Verse
I am the Pain!
The living sadness of a winter in forward march
I am the agony
that shatters the frost!
So spoke la poeta. She of boulders of Jaén and the airs of the Albayzín; her of the wild hair, with its bushels of dry carnations in mid-leap; she of the weeping mermaid, of las ´estrellas viperinas´, the snake stars; with her eyes and brow daubed metallic blue, with her voice all-tempestuous, deep and awful, belonging to neither woman nor man, otherworldly, inhuman, yet familiar; she, an enfleshment of the Sphinx of Andalucía, a chisel mark upon its lion mask. She, María de los Angeles Argote Molina, poet of the Vimaambi.
I am the agony that shatters the frost! …These simple lines, with their near unbearable lyric intensity, boil the full-spectrum of human emotion into an echo-rich nadir. We are reminded of katabasis, echtrae and immrama, of those voyages into the depths of earth and sea, and to those weird corners of the heart, where just as ´darkness is awake upon the dark´, so is sadness inquiet upon the deeper sadness still—a profound ache so burningly cold it ruptures its clear diamond armour and shatters all it breathes upon, from packed earth, to fallen boughs, to lips that split, re-split, and split again, naked against the howling gale.
Then comes the blood, the thaw, born by the Tu Bishvat moon that sucks back into the tree trunks their sap, the February Moon of Lights that carpets the land in hosts of floral tapers, and heralds the dew´s arrival; the arrival of Lady Rocío, the dew of new birth, the dew of love that is the Rhyme of the Nazza where heat and moisture conjoin to fulfill Life´s recipe.
Yet Winter is not alone in its march. ´Neath the snowy owls silent eye, in nighttime winter gardens thought to be void of activity—those quiet dreaming places of the mind—secret as the ants, the Poets also are busy at muster and maneuver.
This is a comunicado from the poets, artists, musicians, and dancers of the Taller de Arte Vimaambi. We are dedicated to carrying M.A.A.M.´s legacy forward through time, and to continue hosting noches poeticas, which have been held in the Albayzín since 2000, and informally since 1992, first in the neighbourhoods’ plazas for gatherings of neighbours, friends, and passersby that happened upon them, and later in our Sala Vimaambi, where they will continue to take place. Poets young and old, known and unknown, passing through Granada are encouraged to get in touch with us and partake in poem and scene.
Our first poetica of this year will take place this very eve. Upon the stage is set a sea of lights, and a frozen bouquet of roses mounted in a vase, that will melt little by little as each poet rises to recite.
Yet we will not deny the Winter´s agony the praise and embrace it deserves. The lovely heart is bitter. This is the bitterness of a potent green infusion that sets all cells in the body trembling. I know of no true herbalist who does not relish its flavour. This is Lorca´s bitter root "These black sounds are the mystery, the roots fastened in the mire that we all know and all ignore, the fertile silt which gives us the very substance of art." For at the root there is neither joy nor sorrow, just pure unprismed emotion—a force that, like a mugger, seizes us by the collar and pins us against walls.
And now the calendars vomit Spring… M.A.A.M. continues in her poem. Todo es verde ahora…todo verde! La maquina calla. Even now my proleptic eye snatches a glimpse of the boughs of almond trees snowdusted in pink white petals, and the sons and daughters of Moor, Christian, Jew, and Gypsy processing drunkenly to the Abbey above Sacromonte for San Cecilios Day. Winter´s march grows weary; now´s to gong and glory the stampede of Spring.
So speak the Poets under dawn splattered skies.
The Poets tell no lies.
Granada, (La Gran Hada)
31. I. 14
Art by Pedro Garciaria