Maria do Cebreiro

[One must imagine being enclosed]

One must imagine being enclosed.


Whosoever cannot imagine enclosure

cannot write a letter.

Whosoever cannot imagine the impossible

cannot occupy the logic of her dreams.


But this letter is not a border; it is a bridge.

It wants to arrive, though it knows not the destination.

It wants to be taken up,

though it knows not by what hands.


Sometimes silence is the language of the body.

Then comes the State,

which is not a storm, but is made of air.

It lives in our breath

and crosses prision walls.


Outside, I see the names of fugitives and pirates,

I feel the touch of the one who does not touch me,

the ash that burns in the eyes that look not upon me.


The silence of the State

turns every silence into something else.


Nothing of what the land holds is simple.

No one speaks of the sun’s struggle to rise each day.

No one knows the montain’s pain when it crumbles.

The sea’s howl when it breaks.


We cannot know how hard the moon works

to divide itself between two hemispheres.

Flowering is no easy task.



 Translated by Neil D. Anderson

“One must imagine being enclosed” is from Os inocentes [The Innocents] (Editorial Galaxia, 2014).


You can read and listen to the poem in the original Galician here.