The poppies are disappearing,
wiped out like the weeds.
Very soon, the wind’s red brushstrokes
will no longer blow through ﬁelds of wheat.
Who will be able to make sense, one day,
of Van Gogh’s paintings?
The world I live in is still familiar,
though subtle changes already alert me:
it won’t go back to being mine.
It’s not about it being a hell: it can be understood.
Oblivion comes, reassuring us.
And happiness, happiness always returns.
Works of love
The motive doesn’t matter.
We have to search among the remains for what has survived.
Might we not feel ourselves insecure
if our feelings
were frontier lands
lost, regained, lost once more?
For loving is not falling in love.
It is going on building, time and again,
the same courtyard in which to listen to the blackbirds
in springtime when it’s still dark.
It is the only birdsong that could be Schubert.
You and I as in our twenties, alone in the kitchen,
we grow strong listening to that melody.
We have never had so much light as now.
I’ve never forgotten the blow to the back of my head from a guardia civil
who told me loudly and harshly: Speak a Christian tongue, boy!
Until I was in my forties, the police
would conduct their questioning using torture.
Only in Castilian.
But through so many humiliations
before the words something else reached me.
Gentle and indestructible.
As clear as nothing else would ever be.
It came from a place that I think is childhood.
Sometimes I feel it mixed with music,
like ten or ﬁfteen notes that suddenly move me,
but I don’t know why or since when.
As though it were a tomb with no name
to which for love’s sake I have always brought roses.
It is the strength and light of something unknown to me.
It warns me, protects me from a place that I do not love.
From a pointless rancour. From myself. From others.
From some dangerous indifference.
It is in my poems.
For that reason, too, I have written them in Castilian.
They were my earliest years, when my eyes opened
on a broad landscape of dry-farming.
I’ve never forgotten the marvellous moment
of clapping my hands at the water of the channel
when my grandfather, by raising the little sluice-gate,
allowed it to enter the ﬁeld,
and ﬂow along all the gullies made by the hoe.
Happiness comes to me from poverty.
Sometimes, in the broad but harsh
landscape of dry-farming that is my present age,
I sense the child’s eyes questioning me,
smiling and trusting, asking if we are coming
to the place where I always told him we were going.
A moment has come when I need
to imagine what will not happen next.
I’m talking about that ancient, dangerous force
that clearly grasps where you are going
and doesn’t care that it may be useless.
I send out a cry directed at myself
like a last opportunity.
To smile at a ridiculous place while fearing nothing
and without distinguishing between truth and falsehood,
but to do it with the force that truth has
that it has never claimed to be. And which it isn’t.
A force that many of us will have been aware of,
like a storm beating against the rocks,
and which I carry inside me
like the sea gone calm inside a cave
from which the noise of the storm can be heard.
A time I want to go back to when my shadow,
the one I had as a child, comes back to take my hand,
when that well-known moment comes.
That is the closest to a truth
and also the furthest from a lie
that my solitude can make use of.
AN AMAZING WINTER (2017)
12 An amazing winter
13 Atocha Hill
14 The mysterious island
15 Works of love
16 Woman about to do her hands
17 Building a destiny
21 On insults
22 Memory’s punishment
23 North wind
24 Our time
25 Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
26 All-in wrestling
29 The albatross
31 Through pain
32 What enlightens me
33 More than a song
36 Golden Age
38 Photograph of a girl
39 De senectute
40 Jorge Manrique
41 If you read this book
42 Time’s lyric
44 Final performances
45 Known cruelty
47 Behind the glass
50 The solitude of the sea
51 No other beginning
53 Epilogue to An amazing winter
WILD CREATURE (2020)
58 The two snowfalls
59 The kitchen
61 Silent woman
62 Ángel González, a memory
63 Don’t talk about this with anybody
64 From poverty
65 Clear and difﬁcult
66 Seductions, after so much time
67 Lost village
68 Wild creature
69 Beloved time with her
71 Note on truth
72 Silence and survival
73 First lesson
75 The calm of coming back
76 The poem and the wall
77 The depths of poverty
78 Morning in Sant Just
79 Family lunch
80 A simple farewell
81 The ﬁnal intimacy
82 The beginning of everything
83 Protections, consolations
84 Rachid Boujedra
85 Faraway smiles
87 A price
88 Chamber music
89 Love and fear
90 The long ending
91 In the early morning
92 What is approaching?
93 The picture of Santes Creus monastery
94 Autumn in Elizondo
95 Final pause
96 Murmur of rain
97 The house
100 Nightfall for old lovers
101 The only loyalty
102 Coming out of a concert
103 Dark Night of the Soul
104 Deep paradox
105 Two encounters
106 A poignant indifference
107 Everything is going quiet
108 Mistakes and sewers
111 Reasons and ways
112 Betrayal is no longer possible
113 Walking through a forest at night
114 A joyous prudence
115 Building work
116 Under a deep blue sky
117 Sick old man
118 About Babel
119 Josep Maria Subirachs
120 A daughter
121 Vincent Van Gogh
122 With you
123 The forgotten dream
124 Attempt at conclusions
125 Courtyard song
126 The past, so difﬁcult at times
127 Another happy world
128 You, me and music
129 Memory of a ﬁeld
130 Fear of what we are
131 Our dead, Raquel
132 One winter morning, 2020
133 The highest mountain
'His work is time-haunted and death-haunted, but the poems also have a wonderful, clear, intelligent light in them. Margarit is perhaps firstly a love poet, and, readers can be assured, his loves are more often flesh and blood than steel.' – Carol Rumens, Guardian.com (Poem of the Week)
One of the best, if not the very best, of all contemporary Catalan poets’ – Luis Antonio de Villena, El Mundo
‘Wow!…Erotic closeness, distance, passion, jealousy, indifference, night, death, imagination, apocalypse, and more all in a few lines and a few simple words…His themes [are] delivered with such fire and candour they inspirit’ – Herbert Lomas, Ambit
'I highly recommend the luminous, subtle Tugs in the Fog by the Catalan poet Joan Margarit, translated by Anna Crowe. The Spanish Civil War and its after effects, and the death of his handicapped daughter haunt poems which are nevertheless full of life' – Moniza Alvi, Poetry News
‘Poems in which the poet risks all…This is Margarit at the height of his powers, able to move us more than ever with his sad music, his words that don’t attempt to prettify’ – Jordi Llavina, Avui
‘We already know that literature is a fight to the death with death, but it is a long while since I read a book in which this truth was so visible. So terrifyingly visible, I would say’ – Javier Cercas, El País
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