La Sobremesa / Efter Eatin / After Eating

Photo by Dave Lastovskiy on Unsplash

Carlos Llaza:

‘La sobremesa’ deals with the most pleasurable aspect of eating with friends and family: proper conversation. While the speaker seems relaxed and willing to take his time, he is aware of the tacit urgency informal chat can provoke. Language and words are dynamic because our own reality is constantly renewing itself. New ways of addressing the world—both within and around us—are imperative. The relative effectiveness of such new names is, hence, ephemeral.

Dorothy Lawrenson: There’s so much ambiguity in this short poem. What exactly are the words that ‘call back’? The names that ‘ensnare new bodies’? What ‘blindness’ afflicts these characters? There seems to be a tension here between the speaker’s enjoyment of relaxed conversation and a desire to use words for a more serious purpose. I wonder if that’s an inherent – and perhaps necessary – tension for poets and poetry?

Scroll down to see a video of poet and translator reading this poem, with English subtitles.

La Sobremesa
por Carlos Llaza

Al fin llenos, fumamos 
y bebemos al sol

para estirar la carne
soltar los huesos

pensar en las palabras
que regresan

tejer los títulos que atrapan
los cuerpos nuevos

la música que aliviará
nuestra ceguera.

Efter Eatin
owerset intae Scots bi Dorothy Lawrenson

Stappit at last, we smoke
an drink ootby

tae rax oor flesh
tae lowse oor limbs

tae think on wurds
that caw back

tae weave names that snare
new bodies

music that’ll soother
oor blinness.

After Eating
translated into English by Carlos Llaza and Dorothy Lawrenson

Full at last, we smoke
and drink in the sun

so as to stretch our flesh
loosen our limbs

to think about the words
that call back

to weave the names that ensnare
new bodies

the music that will relieve
our blindness.

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