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Euskal Idazleen Elkartea

Antonio Casado da Rocha > Extracts





Everything would go better, says Lady Chatterley’s lover,

if men danced the old dances without any clothes on

or wearing tight-fitting red pants.


I have my doubts about the aurresku which is danced here

in white, with a beret on the head and mostly for money,

on a rainy day before the newlyweds,

another day before a coffin wrapped in flags,

another before a president’s retinue.


The pleasure, if there’s pleasure, lies more in seeing it

than in the face of the one who’s dancing, unmoving

from the waist up, for whom it’s unseemly

to betray emotion or the slightest smile.


It is not an incitement but instead an homage.


Feudal and elegant, the person dancing it

bows like the shafts of an X or a K,

makes circles on the ground with the tip of a toe,

then moves them like a fishtail for propulsion

or raises a leg to impossible heights.


Like a shy boy who has no idea how

to communicate except by leaping and standing in place

his genuflection symmetrically complicated,

a ceremony both essential and repetitive

like poetry itself,

the one who dances elevates the one who watches

in this flight that is as brief and laughable as life

before his feet so much as touch the platform.


(Translated by Elizabeth Macklin)

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