Friday, August 21, 2009



La virgen,
pura como una gota de azogue,
en la cintura un cinturón de zafiros,
reina sobre la tierra mudable.
-------La vigila Mercurio
mientras ella ordena cuidadosamente
las cuentas de cornerina, de sardónice
----en la calma de la noche plena.

-----------© Rafael Jesús González 2009


The virgin,
pure as a drop of quicksilver,
girdled with sapphires,
reigns over the changing earth.
-------Mercury watches her
as she carefully orders
the beads of carnelian, of sardonyx
-----in the calm of full night.

-----------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Post-graduate class reunion, University of Oregon, August 14-15, 2009


The fall of 1962, just newly arrived at the University of Oregon as an NEA Fellow, I was assigned an office in one of the barracks-like wooden buildings that faced the old Pioneer Cemetery at that time. Looking out my office window one day, I observed a boy, a freshman, I assumed, as newly arrived at the university as I was, wandering among the trees and tombstones (as I was fond of doing.) Turning from my translation of Beowulf or from my compilation of bibliographical notes for Prof. Kester Svendsen’s hated bibliography course, I wrote ‘Pioneer Cemetery.’

It remained forgotten in a notebook of the time, its final two lines extrapolated for what I thought a better poem (‘Solomon’s October,' Oakwood, vol 2, no. 2, Spring 1976, South Dakota University Press), until, looking at old notes in preparation for the August 2009 reunion of the post-graduate classes of the English Department at the U. of O. from 1965 to 1975, I decided to present it as a gift (for the first time made public) to my friends and colleagues attending the reunion.

U. of O. post-graduate class reunion dinner, August 15, 2009
© Dan Tannacito 2009

Pioneer Cemetery

(University of Oregon)

Sing ðu þæt leoð, scop

Requiems bristle fir-high
among the withered stones
scarred with a rune,
hint to some brittle thigh
instituted in a house of bones.
----Outside a boy whistles a tune.
----He leaps the hurdle of an age-old love
----carved into stone with a chipping word,
----smacks the cracked tail of a marble dove,
----and answers the call of a quicker bird.

From viridescent masks of moss
bibliographies of in-memoriums show
the blunted digit of a date.
----The boy registers it for some future use,
----turns a mushroom with his toe,
----and thinks the word “fate” —
--------and, inexplicably, the word “abuse.”

Lichen endorses wrinkled petroglyphs,
pledges the rain endeavors to efface,
denying pity from the whip-lunged God
whose symbols are the eye and the crossed sticks.
Wild queen-Anne’s lace
breaking from the tangled sod
tumbles the stele with its root,
reclaims to dust monuments to a grief clock-worn
in elegiac fragments phrased in pious alphabet
caressed by fumbling grass and a youth’s boot,
Braille-read by the black cricket and the yellow thorn.

----He stops to light a cigarette
----and drops upon a tablet the used match,
----half-reading words half-shrouded by the sward,
----and spits his spite through a cracked tooth,
----but hesitating turns to catch
----from the colloquial language of the Lord
----some allophonic truth.

------------------------------------------(October 1962)

------------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

Pioneer Cemetery, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon

Rafael Jesús González teaching Honors College Creative Writing,
University of Oregon (New World Coffee House) Spring 1966


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Let us keep a moment of silence for Nagasaki which, three days after Hiroshima , sixty-four years ago was victim of a nuclear bomb. Never, ever must we allow this to happen again.

Cranes Fly for Peace Tanka

A girl in Japan
taught the world to fold paper
cranes — still there is war.
Blessings written on their wings,
oh, paper cranes, fly for peace.

---------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

tanka Grullas vuelen por la paz

Una niña en Japón
le enseñó al mundo doblar grullas
de papel — aun hay guerra.
Bendiciones escritas en sus alas
¡O garzas de papel! vuelen por la paz.

-------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

(to make an origami crane)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

It was on this day in 1945, sixty-four years ago, that the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, another on Nagasaki. We must never let it happen again; we must work for complete nuclear disarmament throughout the world.

-----------------------------------Andreas Bauer

Origami Crane Tanka

It's said that if you
fold one-thousand paper cranes
your wish will come true.
For peace I would gladly spend
the rest of my days folding.

-----------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

Tanka de Grulla Origami

Se dice que si
doblas mil grullas de papel
tu deseo se te concederá.
Por la paz felizmente me pasaría
el resto de mis días doblando.

------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

Tanka de Garça Origami

Se dizes que sim
dobras mil garças de papel
e te desejo se realizará.
pela paz, feliz, eu passaria
o resto de meus dias dobrando.

-----------------------------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

-------------------------------------traducción al portugués por

---------------------------- -----© Clevane Pessoa 2008

In June of 1983, imprisoned in Santa Rita Prison because of blocking the entrance of Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, California, where nuclear arms are designed, we occupied ourselves folding cranes from old newspapers; among us all, we made more than a thousand to send to Japan.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Full moon: It Is a Sin

--------Pecado es

Si no se abre la rosa
para soltar su fragancia;
si no se abre la rosa
para recibir el rocío,
------es pecado.
Si no nos abrimos
para amar;
si no nos abrimos
para ser amados
------es pecado.
Cuando se guarda
el címbalo, el tambor
sin tocarse,
------es pecado.
Cuando sale la luna
y no la miramos
------es pecado.

Cuando llegue el momento
para medir mis traiciones
------cerradas y oscuras
contra mi bien
------abierto y claro,
que sea amplio el perdón
y que la luz de la luna
sea lo suficiente pesada
para oprimir
------en mi favor
------------la balanza.

------© Rafael Jesús González 2009

---------It Is a Sin

If the rose does not open
to let go its fragrance;
if the rose does not open
to receive the dew,
------it is a sin.
If we do not open to love;
if we do not open to be loved,
------it is a sin.
When the cymbal, the drum
is kept without playing,
------it is a sin.
When the moon rises
& we do not view it,
------it is a sin.

When the moment comes
to measure my betrayals
------closed & dark
against my good
------open & clear,
may foregiveness be wide
& may the light of the moon
be heavy enough
to press
------in my favor
------------the scales.

------© Rafael Jesús González 2009