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fishboat12Learn how to hope, to wait for the turning of the tide
in the same way as a boat beached up on the shore
and if the tide leaves without you do not be disillusioned.
Everyone who waits knows that victory will be his.

“Consejos”, Antonio Machado,
translation by Paul Quintanilla, © 2014

~~~

I bring you a new language
from the interstice between conflict
and that blunted state too quick to reek
like bony cold fish soup left in the sun
that you call peace. Fashioned from platonic
solids, places, things, these words with pride
shall rest upon your tongue, content as sea
anemones to bask and watch for cause
to speak. Meanwhile, upon this crest abide.
Learn how to hope, to wait for the turning of the tide.

I bring you a new state
beyond the perforated battle lines
punched into sand and mind when you were
not yet old enough to contradict divide
and conquer. Leys and laws of yesteryear
are washed away. This higher floor
derives no strength from soapboxes,
stands firm, regenerates anew each day
and welcomes tidal rests, awaiting more
in the same way as a boat beached up on the shore.

I bring you a new nation
sea to brilliant sea and towering
with stalls of spice and fruits heaped high
and every stage of life enjoyed. No mothers
forced to choke down bile, a flag placed in her
hands as substitute. All danger repositioned
to adventure with the certainty that we’ll come
round again, while Nature’s high, as stimulant,
appeases every curiosity our eager hearts envisioned
and if the tide leaves without you do not be disillusioned.

I bring you a new love
unlike those who from their
spindly cynics’ perches feign a tolerance
for visions of utopia you’ve dreamed since
infancy. This love, like you, has jettisoned
paralysis of hope. He’s unafraid—his kiss
you know by heart, his signature’s right here
by yours, a declaration marked to reunite you
at tide’s turning where you’ll both remember this:
Everyone who waits knows that victory will be his.

~~~

The experience of writing a glosa is always magical for me, but never has it crossed so deeply into the realm of enchantment as this one. The crown stanza by the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado is excerpted from a biography about an equally great Spanish artist, Luis Quintanilla. Machado, a mentor and friend, gave this poem to the young painter in a bar in Segovia, saying he’d thought of him while writing it.

Waiting at the Shore: Art, Revolution, War, and Exile in the Life of the Spanish Artist Luis Quintanilla was written by his son, Paul, and published in 2014 by Sussex Press. If you’ve ever wished you could have lived in Paris during La Belle Epoque, befriending Hemingway, rubbing shoulders with Picasso and Modigliani; been commissioned by the Duke of Alba to paint frescoes for his palace; fought against Fascists in the Spanish Civil War; called the greatest artist of your time, only to be exiled, forgotten, and after your death to be remembered again…

I cannot recommend Paul Quintanilla’s book highly enough, and I thank him for permission to use his father’s painting as the cover for this glosa.

© Elaine Stirling, 2014
“Docked Fishing Boat”, oil on canvas, by Luis Quintanilla
from the website dedicated to his work, http://www.lqart.com

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