for Tomás Segovia

I heard with great sadness that Tomás Segovia has died at the age of 84 in Mexico where he was still teaching. Segovia was a tremendous poet but unfortunately very little has been translated, if anything, into English. There is a good collection in French called Cahier du Nomade. He used to post poems on his blog. His wife has kept the blog going. You can visit it here: It is moving to go there and feel the signs of the passing genius. He has just flown to a land of echoes, to join with the echoes he has always left, here, the leavings of leavings, robbed from time, strange objects, outlaw meanings in a labyrinth of the precarious. Here is a translation I did of his rather complex but superlatively fascinating metaphysical poem, Don de lo Hecho. I remember sending it to him at the time and he replied in perfect English (he is very well known for his translations of Shakespeare). He said he was astonished that I had got so close to the original. I was moved and then sent him some of my own work including a piece which I dedicated to him and is now in The Parallel Body, poem 32. In fact the translation of this particular piece led me to the poem. I then send him the full collection and he wrote back immediately saying how he spontaneously enjoyed them and that my poetry was the type of poetry he immediately felt drawn to. Later when speaking with my editor, Marcus Reichert, we wondered if we might not use a sentence from his informal comment in an email for the back cover of the book. He quickly replied: "Of course you can, I do not believe in intellectual property." Truly the comment of a great and humble man. Later he invited me to the Spanish consulate in France for a talk on Cahier du Nomade. I could not make it. I wanted to go to Valencia and meet him last year. I didn't make it there either. Now it's too late. I really should have gone. Here is the stupendous poem. Tomás , sorry I never made it!

The Gift of what is Made

We should learn to forgive ourselves
for not having made the world Love you and I
to forgive the enigmatic nastiness of Time
humiliating father who never gives up
we should learn to stop fearing him
to look at his ghosts so they remain ghosts
to not die for having lived
to not be the ghosts of our ghosts
time - not love - made me
time nourished me from the sap of its betrayals
time sowed me already poisoned me with pluralism
all that time brought me was perishable
apart from the negation of myself by which I efface time
but what to do Love with this trickster
how do we play your triumphs against him
if you win against Time Love we have lost
I betrayed you since birth
I gave you lots of faces which only Time devoured
and all of them were you who were none other than him
and you always repeated yourself and you never said anything
or each time you spoke a real name
and all save the last you give to him
and once again you rip me up to give me to him so he can eat me
let's not joke Love shuffle the deck of cards
eat time and eat my life
I can tell you all your false names
and your false true names
start by speaking start at the end
don't start with the defences of fidelity
which is like building a castle with a moat of treachery
start by launching an offensive into the heart of Time to fight it
in your name I will betray my betrayals
and I will become faithful to the infidelity of Time
to you Love I can say everything
to you Love i can speak
in your name I oblige my time to speak to you
it is he and not I who will give you what he stole from me
you alone will be able to give the gift which is yours
this said for you there is nothing outside your life
and i am yours only and you alone are you

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