Tinc una oda comencada

Today’s poem is in Catalan, so I hope it will be accessible to many followers of this blog. Having once lived in Barcelona, I can read and understand the Catalan language fairly well, so I thought I would like to include some poetry from this region. The poem is by Joan Maragall, writing at the end of the nineteenth century and it is a poem about what it means to be a poet and write poetry, so very relevant to every entry on this blog. The tilte is “L’Oda Infinita”, the Infinite Ode.

L’Oda Infinita

Tinc una oda començada
que no puc acabar mai:
dia i nit me l’ha dictada
tot quant canta en la ventada,
tot quant brilla per l’espai.

Va entonar-la ma infantesa
entre ensomnis d’amor pur;
decaiguda i mig malmesa,
joventut me l’ha represa
amb compàs molt més segur.

De seguida amb veu més forta
m’han sigut dictats nous cants;
pro cada any que el temps s’emporta
veig una altra esparsa morta
i perduts els consonants.

Ja no sé com començava
ni sé com acabarà,
perquè tinc la pensa esclava
d’una força que s’esbrava
dictant-me-la sens parar.

I aixís sempre a la ventura,
sens saber si lliga o no,
va enllaçant la mà insegura
crits de goig, planys d’amargura,
himnes d’alta adoració.

Sols desitjo per ma glòria
que, si algú aquesta oda sap,
al moment en què jo mòria,
me la digui de memòria
mot per mot, de cap a cap.

Me la digui a cau d’orella,
esbrinant-me, fil per fil,
de la ignota meravella
que a la vida ens aparella
el teixit ferm i subtil.

I sabré si en lo que penses
—oh poeta extasiat!—
hi ha un ressò de les cadences
de l’ocell d’ales immenses
que nia en l’eternitat.

From <http://joanmaragalligorina.weebly.com/loda-infinita.html&gt;

The idea of this poem is that the poet’s whole life is devoted to producing a never-ending ode; an ode that can never be finished. The ode will convey all the sensations and experiences of life, everything blown in on the wind, or shining out in the poet’s view.

This began in the poet’s infancy and continued in his youth and will go on as long as the poet lives. The poet here is not a creator, he is a transcriber of a force of poetry which comes from outside, which is everywhere in nature and life. The poet merely acts as a channel to capture and set down the poetry of the world, the poet is almost a slave to this force coming from outside of him.

The poems have cries of joy, bitter pain and hymns of adoration but these are expressed through the poet’s hand without conscious thought or craftsmanship. Poetry is an expression of the force of life and eternity with the poet just the humble intermediary. When the poet dies he hopes the whole poem of life will be revealed to him and whether it will continue into eternity.

The Poetry Dude


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