Que tranquilidad violeta,

Here is a poem from Juan Ramon Jimenez about riding his horse. There are actually quite a few Spanish poets who write about riding horses – I think of near contemporary poets like Rafael Alberti and Federico Garcia Lorca of course, but also Boscan and Garcilaso and Lope de Vega (I once saw a production of El Caballero de Olmedo on stage in Paris where an actual horse was ridden on to the stage at key moments in the drama). There is something in the culture, particularly in southern Spain which makes the horse a powerful symbol of human power and achievement.

In this poem, the poet is enjoying a late afternoon horse ride beside a river -and all is indeed well with the world.

EL POETA A CABALLO

¡Qué tranquilidad violeta,

por el sendero, a la tarde!

A caballo va el poeta…

¡Qué tranquilidad violeta!

La dulce brisa del río,

olorosa a junco y agua,

le refresca el señorío…

La brisa leve del río…

A caballo va el poeta…

¡Qué tranquilidad violeta!

Y el corazón se le pierde,

doliente y embalsamado,

en la madreselva verde…

Y el corazón se le pierde…

A caballo va el poeta…

¡Qué tranquilidad violeta!

Se esté la orilla dorando…

El último pensamiento

del sol la deja soñando…

Se está la orilla dorando…

¡Qué tranquilidad violeta,

por el sendero, a la tarde!

A caballo va el poeta…

¡Qué tranquilidad violeta!

From <http://www.los-poetas.com/d/juanr1.htm>

The opening and closing stanzas of the poem are the same, evoking the calm of the evening as the poet rides along the riverside track. The calm of the evening is violet in colour, presumably an interpretation of the colour of the setting sun. But the repetition takes the moment out of time and helps establish the transcendent nature of the moment.

The body of the poem has stanzas describing the breezes and scents wafting across the river; the poet’s heart losing itself in the beauty and calm of his surroundings; and the setting sun burnishing the river banks. It is indeed an idyllic pastoral scene, which stands alone as a beautiful reflection of the moment – but also the motif of the poet on horseback also links it to that poetic tradition of southern Spain in which the poetic muse is conveyed through the presence of a horse.

The Poetry Dude

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