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Fundaciones (Foundations)

The dust
and inconstant glaciers
the dust
and the slow the immovable
the dust
the expansive
the efflorescent
in contours and sounds
heavy or light
and the dust
oxidations bellow aluminum clouds
and the dust
                         giant flowers
you fail in making tectonic earthquakes
rodent deserts
and the relapse of the dust
and the dust of the bones
the air of dust
a wasted dusty sky
the dust of the thresholds
bellow the livid sun
the nights of nebulous fires
the sudden fire
the erratic snowdrifts
and the ocean of dust
Life without image or resemblance.

In the roots
                  dust and ruble
in the bottom of the water
                 dust and ruble
ghostly remains of
                dust and ruble
in the clay wheels of
                dust and ruble
the minerals mix with
               dust and ruble
residues and fermentations of
              dust and ruble
crust of
              dust and ruble
for no knowledge.

Buds of transparent capsules
thorny flowering fruits
sterile or inundated vegetation
metamorphosis of rock
populous reign of minerals
large tubular veins
fields of metallic gangs
                             in repose
the wind pushing or pulling
the movement of ice
and between dusty clouds
rivers that rise

Constant and variable dealings
limited in their government by the atmosphere
effects of obedience and the causes
cycles of resistance or rendition
of expansions or contractions
the forces are interpreted
to raise and rejuvenate
to level and age
in a mandate bordering eternity.

Permanent regimen of metamorphosis
of molecular redistribution
passes uninterrupted from one form to another
forces of completion and forces of explosion
ebbs and flows
the changeable anatomy
the invariable constitution
the variable air
the constant return of materials
in the process of construction
slowly or violently destroyed
by the climate and the earthquakes
               in order to start anew
in the circular unity of origin.

Truth of the ray:
flying fire
looking for its hidden double
crawling lightning.

A world where the verb fell,
uselessly talking.

In it’s last days
everything for them became monumental
nostalgia for animal innocence
and for the altered beasts
nostalgia to return and become a plant.

The lights that used to end the night no longer shine.

What engagement between the waste
of the flowering bulbs
between seedlings with fine hair
and the trash of the city

The blizzard whistles between lodgings
of open immovable jaws
The dawning creates a bluish cast
They are congealed
by the extinction of its inhabitants

Continuity of the vegetal
between the forms that rise
and disintegrate
flesh of climbers cover the concrete
flowing cascades
mold covers walls
no other destiny
has been assigned to the plants

The empty constructions
saturated by oxides from the wind
by waters without erosion
they incorporate into sedimentations
they become materials of the beginning.

Not in vain the air
                     invisible sculptor:
it’s innumerable currents
it’s temperatures, it’s voyages
it’s flying vegetations
                               it’s bite
         the ashes, the pollen
brave and flowing
            the incited waters
the pregnant minerals
the drowsy sweaty jungles
suddenly animated
              shaken by storms
by buzzing whirlwinds
its subordinates on a mission of dust
its commerce with mysterious snowdrifts
were the ghostly ice
exercises its potency

There is no memory
                    of before
before much before
deluging deluges
rains pouring over oceans
of sweet water
before the rivers, the seas will appear
                             of reddish rains
what final episode will occur?
over what kind of life will the world end?
what kind of revival will repeat itself?

Every element plays it’s part
in the working cycle
of construction and destruction
The water allied with the wind
builds the monuments or the plains
of erosion
                  delicate arcs
excavated towers and pinnacles
modeled without ceasing
hills of movable sands
and patient piercing
                    valleys and canyons
A persistent drop of water
Is more powerful than the ray
The wind conquers all resistances
In its random seed.

The glaciers glide
like magma
like the olden rivers glide
like the glaciers
like the boiling lava glides
like the aging rivers
like the blue ice
the basaltic flow of eruptions
the magma that glides
the rivers the glaciers . . .

Zigzagging line of snow
undulating mountain lines
linear undulations
broken lines of the young sierras
of the uninterrupted growths
veins of lightning
                             metalliferous veins
undefined lines
                          vaporous clouds
curved line
of the light
                  and its explosion when it enters the atmosphere
its starry brightening
circular lines
are all orgin and all ending
contours drawing islands
sketching of continents
lines circles spirals

The fig tree in the dusk
                                     recorded the animal
felt its wrinkled bark
                                   its pachydermous skin
memorized its lazy footprints
and started to walk.

Wave of sweet water
                                brought a plant
Towards the shore
                               In the shore
the abundant plant
                              brought a seedling
the seedling repeated the plant
in the shore
                          Another plant brought
by the sweet water
                              dried up
without sprouting
The carried the rest
towards the sweetwater
                              that a wave took away
abundance of a plant
                            abundance of a seedling
in the shore…

Within inexorable and varied conflicts
the  elements interlace
Everything convenes
at a continuity devourous and prolific
at the changes and persistencies
at the cyclical budding and withering
complementing itself
                                      the withered and dried already full
the abundancy encouraging its destruction.

The rocks reach an agreement
with the wood
                         solicited by the
mediators of the atmosphere
and the delegations of water
The ice conquers the spaces
it solidifies and fills up
                                      without damages
The natural fire hides
in places with protection
attentive to serve with convenient burnings
Verdant and sandy areas
extend and shrink its dominions
in twin movements of humidity and dryness
Below the guiding firmament
breath the lungs of volcanoes.

The forest of the ruins
rises twining plants and parasites
with mineral flowers
or it breaks off below
winding between cracks and crevices
squeezing the dew
                                  the rain
                                                 the humidity
towards the subterranean galleries
the tunnels and cellars destroyed
where they unite with the waters of shadows
Invisible aerial flora
scatter their pollen
over the rubble
of melted cities
the fields of putrefied absorption
beds of ossifications
new families of plants are born
groups and species composed of
cement like metallic alloys
plastics slowly assimilated
phosphorous sulfur calcium proteins
dregs of infinite constructions
objects that lost their daily condition
utensils tools arms
woods restored into vegetation
Sprouts of green chlorophyll
sprouts of red rust
branches and fungus softening
volumes cutting angles
The dense silence reigns
over other forests and jungles
over a recent relief:
hills, plains, mesas
deserts turning green.

Stations of silence
with the remains of trains that crumble
lines of rails destroyed
sparks of railway junctions
reduced to minerals and spindles
the original plasma reabsorbs
Rinds in the undergrowth
system of roads
where the vegetation is extended
its dust of roots stems and leaves
on the water absent its quagmire
Airports given to
the changes of stations
desolate trails
the ice
           the grass
                           or the desert
liberate the atmosphere
of unending toils.

Bottles in time:
capsules with information
If memory wants to last
persist with its signs
illuminate with extensive objects
the forms of rememberance
whether they slander or discover
ceaseless changes of courtesy
the climate
                  the variations in the wind
the earthquakes
                 the growing
the flowering
the cracks
the combing  of the erosion
will not obtain meaning nor understanding
in the incessant activity
                                                                of the earth and the light.

The starving sea attacks and devours
and is devoured and attacked
Waves and showers mix
its waters salty or earthy
There is no rest but convulsions
crusts that elevate
and valleys that inundate
platforms that enlargen
and bottoms that are sunk
The edges are of the earth and the sea
they are confused
                                for cliffs and beaches
between foam and pebbles.

The wind sows
randomly, through currents, through blows
or depositing pollen, grains, bulbs
in the soil constantly ready
penetrated by the heat and the humidity
modeled by the rain
mixed up in the air
there is no selection of seeds
but nutritional necessities
of the earth
                   in the alliance with the climate
favoring like that
                            the orders
of the fertile fate.

Vegetable organs bland and tender
protected by the epidermis
skin and pores
                          mouths of the stomachs
interior or external glands
extending the protective cuticle
excretory hair of the tissues
segregating sappy juices
vesicular glands of the orange tree
of myrtle from the rue
eminent expansions of the skin
warts thorns needles
stems leaves
                     innumerable forms
flora that the light embraces
fruit that the earth receives.

In the neck of the root
place of light and shade
place of energies that stretch out
raising up from the shoots the seedlings
in buds stems leaves branching out
or spreading out
to suckle humus clay fertilizers
the primary materials
the organic particles
of the inexhaustible lime
Two headed universe
one of air and the variable lights
and another of the putrefaction

… semi lunar cells … wet faces of
the floating leaves … plants all stem
… vital knots … break the seminal tunic
… axillas of the green leaves … vertices
of the twigs pollinating stems
in the spring …

The ferns of greenness sustained
close to the origin
wont testify to
nor for the seas and the primary algae
nor for the vascular cryptogamous
and the red sandstones
nor for the porphyry dolomite minerals
nor for the alluviums
nor for the glaciations
and the animal species
                                       that broke out erect
between the slow waves
of ice
nor for the sinking
and the disappearances
nor for they themselves.

Ceremonial dwellings
grottos of occult crystallizations
where the water hole
                                    drop to drop
the duration of the rocks
or it takes them on
where rivers are born or lagoons sleep
large climbing plants
                                galleries canals
that cross the mountains
cavities in a row braiding your passageways
in the shadow in the humus
that exhales its ammonal odor
rivers that drown in themselves
chemical precipitations
concentrations whose vapor
stirs up explosive pressure
calcareous gypsum formations
the fetid limestone
substances soluble erosions
                  rocks that form
in its interior cavities
with insertions mantles capricious colonnades
alabaster cloaks
lodes of quartz fieldstone granite
the ovens of vitreous lamina
                                                of brilliant gypsum
of acidulous water
                               and elastic fluids
dominions of continuous nocturnes.

The rituals never cease
                                        the repetitions
the cyclical returns
of shoots renewing withering
dust and detritus
and again of births
in the same body
and disasters
                      catastrophic movements
erosions complications sinkings
putrefactions regenerations
funereal flowerings.

The mountains cloud up
                                         they retreat
they gather
                   they sink
they are in matriarchal sites
alone and windy with their offspring
Trickles of water
run through its hairs
Nothing perturbs its suckling quietude
Lineages begin there.

A travelling tree
Pursued by roaring foam
In rigid water
it’s marble without reflection
and the flowing bank
flooding depopulated cities
In vain there were tracks
in vain the ovens burned
the metals were transformed
flights were reinvented
waters domesticated
the fire trained
In vain
        in vain
Now a travelling tree
is starting a new lineage
with the foam.

The sea of fertile smells
of untiring unanimous agitation
receives the salt of the rivers
strips beaches or buries them  
like before the mountainous complications
when the lands emerged
prefiguring ridges of whales
glimmers of fishes’ fins
by becoming.

Order of persistence compared by immanence:
the clay exhaling its virgin odor
the noises that silence makes
the sea obligated to break the coast
to sound in solitude
the plants in the desert full of water
the humidity of the forest wasting
and the waterfalls
confusing rocks and vegetables

Energies of birth
and consummation
creating without rest
growths of amazing rapidity
and ferocious extinctions
timelessness of sudden volcanoes
and explosions of berries
in the light of summer
whirlwind of forces
that open their mouths

The survivors appear
with their legs and antennas
articulated tracheal mutants
resistant species of annulated germinations
or the lineage that begins.

While the sun survives
with its growing activity
while it maintains its splendor
while the trees register
in the wood rings of their trunks
the flows and emissions of patriarchal energy:
mountains of mist
                                clouds assuming shapes
of the earth
                  all the shapes
visible and the concealed
the hidden
clouds of life immanently
rains and rivers
                         and the sea
and misty clouds
                           aspired and exhaled
through the being of plants
already slow in thought.

[Translated by Ron Rodriguez © 2010]

Venezuelan poet, folklorist, essayist, literary critic, and editor Juan Liscano (1915-2001) was associated with the poets of the group Friday (1936-1941), and the so-called generation of 42. His poetry can be traced through these volumes: Nuevo mundo Orinoco (1959), Cármenes (1966), and Fundaciones (1981)––from which this translation by Mr. Rodriguez originally appeared.