Los ángeles colegiales
(The Grade School Angels, from Sobre Los Ángeles – Concerning the Angels )
The nightly humming mum of the blackboard chalk
not one of us understands,
nor why the armillary sphere, exhilarated, dances when
we gaze at her.
We only knew next day that her circumference might suddenly
light into a square dance,
and an eclipse of the moon might mistake the flowers
and spin the bird clocks many
No one understands a thing:
not why our fingers were stained with India ink,
why the afternoon closed its rhythms so the dawn could open books.
We only knew a straight line, if it wants, can be broken or curved,
and that the wandering stars are children ignorant of arithmetic.
Author: Rafael Alberti
Translator: Manny Grimaldi