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Jonathan Harker’s secret diary notes mayo 14, 2009

Posted by Closto in Artes, Fabulae, Libri, Littera, Themae personales, Universitas.
26 comments

He aquí una historia corta que voy a entregar mañana para mi clase de “Inglés  para fines específicos”. A ver qué os parece. Se agradecerán los comentarios y opiniones.

Bueno, aquí os va:

3 May. It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which is a very interesting old place. Being practically on the frontier -for the Borgo Pass leads from it to Bukovina- it has had a very stormy existance, and it certainly shows marks of it […]. Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I found, to my delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of course I wanted to see all I could of the ways of the country. I was evidently expected, for when I got near the door I faced a cheery-looking elderly woman in the usual peasant dress1.

I felt strange since the very moment I stepped in. It was the kind of feeling I would have the rest of my journey to Count Dracula’s place. Even when I was shown my room, I felt as though someone was spying me.

I left my package beside the bed and looked at the window. The night had already come and it seemed it was going to be very thick. I sat on the bed and explored the room with my sight. There was a big wardrobe made of dark, ebony wood, perhaps thought for customers spending many days in the Carpathians to leave their clothes. There were also a couple of bedside tables with one drawer each. I tried to open them but one of them was stuck or locked, and I could not but giving up trying.

After drinking some water I brought with me, I slowly prepared to sleep. I took off my clothes and lay down into the bed. Although the window was closed, I felt extremly cold. An ignorant person would have probably said it was due to ghosts hovering about the place. What a silly assumption! It must be becasue of the Carpathians and the rough forests all around that land.

I speant quite a long time trying to get to sleep, but all effort was useless. I got up and looked out of the window again hopelessly trying to find some trace of life or human activity, but there was no evidence of it. I turned back and sighted. I started to feel overweighted by my situation and so suffocated. I thought of me as being a rat trapped in a tiny cage with nowhere to go, completly unaware of what is going on outside that cage. I think I ran about for a little while before falling over to the ground. I am not sure of how much time it took me to recover and stand up. I was utterly confused. I tried to remember what had happened so far and I decided that I was at some point in the dead of the night.

I don’t know why, but when I stood up and calmed down, I slowly took my clothes and dressed up. Then I left the room and headed towards the hotel entrance. I was convinced that I desperately needed to walk for a while, regardless of the cold and the snow outside. If Mina had been there, I’m sure she would have known what to do to comfort and relieve me.

The night was colder than I expected so I was forced to go for another robe to cover and protect myself. As I was fighting my way up to the room agains the extreme cold, I heard a strnage noise coming from a big room beyond the reception hall. A fleeting wish to take a look crossed my mind, but it was immediately rejected due to my sudden impossibility to move stealthily nor to behave in a natural and proper way.

No sooner had I entered my room, I fetched a robe and a large hat to protect against the freezing cold. Had I thought carefully about it, I would have felt shocked at my own insane decisions and behaviour. Still, I kept on with my plan of going out to the weather’s freezing rage. I only hoped that stupid walk would tire me enough to be able to get to sleep as soon as possible.

I could still hear some strenge noieses as I went back to the entrance hall, but I paid them no heed, for I imagined there were some people prepairing everything for the next day. I crossed the hall and opened the door. The night seemed calmer than before: the wind didn’t blow violently, no more snow fell from the skies above and the trees no longer whispered their fatal tune. “The sooner I start, the sooner I’ll finish”, I said to myself and started moving.

I was walking very slowly due to the snow on the ground and the cold within my body, though I knew I ought to go faster. Ten minutes after my paarting from the hotel, I realized that idea was the stupidest thing I had ever carried out. I blamed myself and decided to go back, but my footprints disappeared as I walked on as though a hellish and dark power was cast to curse me. I couldn’t even remember the way back for I had all my sensed and inner strengh working to hold up to the cold. Besides, I was just looking to the ground instead of trying to enjoy the limited sight of the city at night. I silently cursed Romania, Bistritz, Transilvania and the very Count.

After some hasty musing over what I ought to do next, I decided to try to go back and see where I got to end up. I turned back and started walking, willing to reach the hotel again. The streets seemed all the same to me, and the forest beside the town seemed to be always very cose to where I was standing. I have been surprised at it since I came to the town, for that feeling of closeness was present within me even before reaching that place.

I walked for a while without seeing any clues as for where the hotel was. To make things worse, the town seemed to be totally abandoned, for no man was outside carrying out so fool a plan as mine and no light could be seen coming from any kitchen nor bedroom. I thought it too bold to shout for help or knock at a door to ask for some directions, so I just sticked to my obstinate stupidity of making the back to the hotel on my own.

I began hearing strange sounds soon after thinking of knocking at some doors. By that time, I was already crawling on the ground’s face, like an inscet -me, part of the decent human race-, lost in time and lost in space -and in meaning. I thought I heard dogs barking, but I soon realized it was the wolves who were howling. The chill had penetrated on me so badly that I was not able to hold any feeling of fear nor any desire for running away. I thought all was lost, and I gave up. I sensed the wolves stepping close to me and I silently allowed them to drag me. “Here I come, Hector”, I said to myself.

Soon, they dropped my clothes from their sharp teeth and left me alone on the snow. I dared not move nor open my eyes in order not to see their devilish faces as they chopped my poor, sinner body into a million pieces. I sang a couple of prayers before I was devoured and when I finised I came to terms with the fact I was destined to perish among hundreds of bites of wild dogs. “What a pitiful death you’re going to die, Mr. Wisdom!”, I scolded myself. But as no tooth cleaved into my body and no bite broke apart any piece of me, I eventually decided to open my eyes slowly, still fearful of a sudden attack. Nothing surrounded me. No wolves, no teeth, no dogs, no anything. Darkness there, and nothing more. To my own surprise, I was disappointed. Was it all something I had imagined? Were the howls real? Was I cursed or had it been real? I was confused and angry, and all I wanted to do was to cry. There was no sleep for me, and apparently no relieve or hope for sanity for me. “Mina!”, I cried out, hoping the night would herald my desperate shout to her. But there was no answer.

I stood up and realized I was in front of the hotel’s entrance. The wind had already started to blow with great strengh and I went in quickly. I sat on the nearest chair and put my hands upon my face as though I was a despicable, poor devil crying in the street. I pitied myself. It was so very embarrasing I really wanted to die.

Soon, another strange noise like those I had heard before leaving the hotel aroused me from my sorry thoughts. As I was not sleepy yet and I didn’t care about anything that could happen, I moved towards the source. I knew I was being too bold, but somehow I didn’t feel remorse. What could be going on? I opened a door that lead to a corridor. A red light came out through the frame of the door on the other side of the corridor. No sooner had I touched the handlebars, the door opened and I was pulled inside the red room.

I found myself kneeled for third time that night. What I saw there shocked me more than anything I had ever seen before (Mem., hide these diary pages from Mina). The room was flooded with lust. There were some people touching and undressing each other in couples or trioes. I crawled back in amazement trying to find the passage back to the place I was before, but it was too late. I saw the woman that received me completly dressed in black locking the door and hiding the key between her breasts. It was such a disgusting scene that I covered my face again with my hands. I crawled to a corner like a child and tried to escape the horrible vision, but it was useless; the old woman came to me and ordered two young and strong men to lift me up. I wouldn’t make it an easy task, but I was not too much of a problem for the youths. The audience laughed for a moment and immediatetly went back to their sinful actions.

I was brought to another corner in which I was asked to sit. The two men would assure I obeyed, so I had no other option. I was offered a cup of slivovitz as one of my guardians help me clean my face of sweat. I was so nervous I drank the brandy right away. Then I was offered another glass and a third one after the latter. I was drunk soon after I entered that hellish room. At some point between my second arrival to the hotel and the morrow, I became part of the orgy. I did not mind at all those heretic lesbians kissing each other, nor the despisable sons of Sade, nor the condemned sodomites doing unnamble things to each other.

Had I perchance touched or kissed another boy, I don’t know. What I am sure of is the old lady introducing me to a young girl with red cheeks decently dressed. I was convinced to pay for her company while she kept me offering spirits. I feel extremly embarrased to admit I rejected none. The old woman marvelled at my enthusiasm in touching the maiden. I started groping one of her breasts from behind her. I kissed her neck and drank almost at the same time. I handled her easily. I didn’t mind the woman in black looking at us and cheering the girl to take an active part. I had fallen into complete perdition. I would have no chance for redemption, but I did not care at all.

I ignore the amount of time I spent in that whirl of lust and sex, but it seemed to me as though it was eternal. My mind was out of control and I felt completly dizzy. I was drunk and I was excited.

4 May. Suddenly, I straightened up on the bed. I was sweating and I could barely breathe. It was all dark in my room. Eagerly I wished the morrow. I stood up and drew the curtains. I could see the sun starting to rise from behind the Carpathians. “Horray! Hallelujah!”, I said to myself. I rushed back to the bed and curled up. I was afraid everything I had seen was true. It was all so real.

When the sunlight came into the room I stood up again and dressed up. I dared not go out and meet the old woman, the young men nor anybody in the room. I sweared not to look behind the door that lead to the corridor just in case I found out everything was true. Once I was prepaired, I went out of the room.

The day was bright and sunny, and everything looked normal. I talked to the old woman and inspected the hall looking for traces I might had left the day before but found none. When I asked whether anybody heard strange noises the previous night, everyone looked surprised and asked why would I ask so. It seemed my mind had made it all up. But I remembered I had sworn and cursed, sinned and fornicated. And there was also that mysterious picture I had not seen the previous day in the hall. There were two men and two women depicted there. The man was paying a procuress for a beauty maiden as he was touching one of her breasts. The other man seemed to look at me directly, as though he could move his eyes in order to look at me wherever I moved to. He had a hair-raising smile upon his face. The old woman said the picture had been there ever since she could recall.

I decided to forget it all. My coming to Romania had not been very cheering but I had some business there. I planned to get in touch with Count Dracula and leave as soon as possible. Remaining there was the last thing I would desire. Thus, I have also decided to burn these pages so no one will ever read them. Instead, I shall repent and confess in the very frist shrine I see and write a natural version of what has occurred to me these days.

Oh, Mina, forgive me.

I found that my landlord had got a letter from the Count, directing him to secure the best place on the coach for me; but on marking inquiries as to details he seemed somewhat reticent, and pretended that he could not understand my German. This could not be true, because up to then he had understood it perfectly; at least, he answered as if he did. He and his wife, the old lady who had received me, looked at each other in a frightened sort of way2.

I knew something fishy was going on in that place and decided not to delay my departure any further.

1Stoker, Bram: Dracula, page 3, Courier Dover Publications, 2000.

2Stoker, Bram: Dracula, page 3, Courier Dover Publications, 2000.

Lord Byron diciembre 14, 2006

Posted by Closto in Libri, Linguae, Littera.
2 comments

Ya que guardé aquí unos poemas de George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron para los amigos, os los dejo aquí para que los disfrutéis. El primero viene con la versión inglesa, así que los menos hispanos tienen su rinconcito.

Soneto a Chillon

Eternal spirit of the chainless mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart –
The heart which love of thee alone can bind;

And when thy sons to fetters are consigned –
To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.

Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar – for ‘twas trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace

Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard! – May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God.

¡Espíritu eterno de la mente sin cadenas!
¡Libertad! Más brillante eres en las mazmorras,
Pues allí tu morada es el corazón –
El corazón al que sólo el amor por tí puede atar.

Y cuando tus hijos son enviados a los grilletes –
A los grilletes, y al húmedo sótano de penumbra sin día,
Su país vence con su martirio,
Y el nombre de la Libertad halla alas en todo viento.

¡Chillon! Tu prisión es un sitio sagrado,
Y tu triste suelo un altar, pues fue hollado,
Hasta que sus pasos dejaron una huella

Gastada, como su tu pavimento fuese un prado,
¡ Por Bonnivard! – ¡Que no se borre ninguna de esas marcas!
Pues ellas claman a Dios contra la tiranía.

Acuérdate de mí

Llora en silencio mi alma solitaria,
excepto cuando está mi corazón
unido al tuyo en celestial alianza
de mutuo suspirar y mutuo amor.

Es la llama de mi alma cual lumbrera,
que brilla en el recinto sepulcral:
casi extinta, invisible, pero eterna…
ni la muerte la puede aniquilar.

¡Acuérdate de mí!… Cerca a mi tumba
no pases, no, sin darme una oración;
para mi alma no habrá mayor tortura
que el saber que olvidaste mi dolor.

Oye mi última voz. No es un delito
rogar por los que fueron. Yo jamás
te pedí nada: al expirar te exijo
que vengas a mi tumba a sollozar.

No volveremos a vagar

Así es, no volveremos a vagar
Tan tarde en la noche,
Aunque el corazón siga amando
Y la luna conserve el mismo brillo.

Pues así como la espada gasta su vaina,
Y el alma consume el pecho,
Asimismo el corazón debe detenerse a respirar,
E incluso el amor debe descansar.

Aunque la noche fue hecha para amar,
Y los días vuelven demasiado pronto,
Aún así no volveremos a vagar
A la luz de la luna.

Canción del corsario

En su fondo mi alma lleva un tierno secreto
solitario y perdido, que yace reposado;
mas a veces, mi pecho al tuyo respondiendo,
como antes vibra y tiembla de amor, desesperado.

Ardiendo en lenta llama, eterna pero oculta,
hay en su centro a modo de fúnebre velón,
pero su luz parece no haber brillado nunca:
ni alumbra ni combate mi negra situación.

¡No me olvides!… Si un día pasaras por mi tumba,
tu pensamiento un punto reclina en mí, perdido…
La pena que mi pecho no arrostrara, la única,
es pensar que en el tuyo pudiera hallar olvido.

escucha, locas, tímidas, mis últimas palabras
-la virtud a los muertos no niega ese favor-;
dame… cuanto pedí. Dedícame una lágrima,
¡la sola recompensa en pago de tu amor!…

Cien años de soledad en un mes de desgarro octubre 29, 2006

Posted by Closto in Libri.
15 comments

No se me ha ocurrido ningún título ingenioso para este artículo. He pensado un poco y no he sabido trastrocar el sagrado nombre de la obra de Gabriel García Márquez, así que al poco determiné que lo sacro debe permanecer inmutable. Y así he decidido que se quedara, describiendo cual titular de prensa lo que quería dar a conocer a todo el mundo. ¡Porque estoy enamorado! No, no he encontrado a ese chico de mis sueños con el que siempre querré compartir mi vida. Me he enamorado de un párrafo. Exacto. Entre los ríos de historias cruzadas y eternas costumbres narradas en esa genial obra llamada Cien años de soledad he encontrado un trozo que de verdad me pone la piel de gallina, los pelos de punta, el corazón el la garganta y las lágrimas en los ojos.

Bueno, sólo quiero comentar ahora que me parece una de la más bellas partes de toda la literatura universal y que mi deseo es hacer con este artículo un pequeño homenaje (y una gran publicidad, ¿para qué nos vamos a engañar?) a la archiconocida obra. Deseo ferviertemente consagrarle como ofrenda al Sr. Márquez el mayor de los agradecimientos que puedo dar por el libro y jurarle amor eterno a la historia de esta familia, los Buendía, que vieron como su imperio, poderoso y singular, recorría la trayectoria de todos los imperios, tanto los grandes como los insignificantes, los que pasan a los libros de historia y los que quedan en la mente de los dioses olvidados, recorren: la senda de la miseria a través de la gloria absoluta. Y es que este montón de hojas tienen que ser leídas sólo para releerlas una y otra vez.

Para terminar, he de aclarar que, como leer el párrafo solo no te hace sentir toda la fuerza que tiene (mira, de algo me sirvieron las clases de la Srta. Vallano: “todo es con relación a lo demás”), voy a copiar el párrafo precedente (más las palabras de Amaranta) y el sucesivo (el que nos concierne lo transcribiré personalmente) para que podáis captar todo su jugo. Eso sí, recordad que mi amor estará en el centro, romántico y cruel, fuerte y lastimero, de amor, llanto, sangre y desgarros, a un pinchazo de distancia. Seguid leyendo y enamoraos.

“Amaranta y Pietro Crespi, en efecto, habían profundizado en la amistad, amparados por la confianza de Úrsula, que esta vez no creyó necesario vigilar las visitas. Era un noviazgo crepuscular. El italiano llegaba al atardecer, con una gardenia en el ojal, y le traducía a Amaranta sonetos de Petrarca. Permanecían en el corredor sofocado por el orégano y las rosas, él leyendo y ella tejiendo encaje de bolillo, indiferentes a los sobresaltos y las malas noticias de la guerra, hasta que los mosquitos los obligaban a refugiarse en la sala. La sensibilidad de Amaranta, su discreta pero envolvente ternura habían ido urdiendo en torno al novio una telaraña invisible, que él tenía que apartar materialmente con sus dedos pálidos y sin anillos para abandonar la casa a las ocho. Habían hecho un precioso álbum con las tarjetas postales que Pietro Crespi recibía de Italia. Eran imágenes de enamorados en parques solitarios, con viñetas de corazones flechados y cintas doradas sostenidas por palomas. «Yo conozco este parque en Florencia -decía Pietro Crespi repasando las postales-. Uno extiende la mano y los pájaros bajan a comer.» A veces, ante una acuarela de Venecia, la nostalgia transformaba en tibios aromas de flores el olor de fango y mariscos podridos de los canales. Amaranta suspiraba, reía, soñaba con una segunda patria de hombres y mujeres hermosos que hablaban una lengua de niños, con ciudades antiguas de cuya pasada grandeza sólo quedaban los gatos entre los escombros. Después de atravesar el océano en su búsqueda, después de haberlo confundido con la pasión en los manoseos vehementes de Rebeca, Pietro Crespi había encontrado el amor. La dicha trajo consigo la prosperidad. Su almacén ocupaba entonces casi una cuadra, y era un invernadero de fantasía, con reproducciones del campanario de Florencia que daban la hora con un concierto de carillones, y cajas musicales de Sorrento, y polveras de China que cantaban al destaparías tonadas de cinco notas, y todos los instrumentos músicos que se podían imaginar y todos los artificios de cuerda que se podían concebir. Bruno Crespi, su hermano menor, estaba al frente del almacén, porque él no se daba abasto para atender la escuela de música. Gracias a él, la calle de los Turcos, con su deslumbrante exposición de chucherías, se transformó en un remanso melódico para olvidar las arbitrariedades de Arcadio y la pesadilla remota de la guerra. Cuando Úrsula dispuso la reanudación de la misa dominical, Pietro Crespi le regaló al templo un armonio alemán, organizó un coro infantil y preparó un repertorio gregoriano que puso una nota espléndida en el ritual taciturno del padre Nicanor. Nadie ponía en duda que haría Amaranta una esposa feliz. Sin apresurar los sentimientos, dejándose arrastrar por la fluidez natural del corazón, llegaron a un punto en que sólo hacia falta fijar la fecha de la boda. No encontrarían obstáculos. Úrsula se acusaba íntimamente de haber torcido con aplazamientos reiterados el destino de Rebeca, y no estaba dispuesta a acumular remordimientos. El rigor del luto por la muerte de Remedios había sido relegado a un lugar secundario por la mortificación de la guerra, la ausencia de Aureliano, la brutalidad de Arcadio y la expulsión de José Arcadio y Rebeca. Ante la inminencia de la boda, el propio Pietro Crespi había insinuado que Aureliano José, en quien fomentó un cariño casi paternal, fuera considerado como su hijo mayor. Todo hacía pensar que Amaranta se orientaba hacia una felicidad sin tropiezos. Pero al contrario de Rebeca, ella no revelaba la menor ansiedad. Con la misma paciencia con que abigarraba manteles y tejía primores de pasamanería y bordaba pavorreales en punto de cruz, esperó a que Pietro Crespi no soportara más las urgencias del corazón. Su hora llegó con las lluvias aciagas de octubre. Pietro Crespi le quitó del regazo la canastilla de bordar y le apretó la mano entre las suyas. «No soporto más esta espera -le dijo-. Nos casamos el mes entrante.» Amaranta no tembló al contacto de sus manos de hielo. Retiró la suya, como un animalito escurridizo, y volvió a su labor.

-No seas ingenuo, Crespi -sonrió-, ni muerta me casaré contigo.

Pietro Crespi perdió el dominio de sí mismo. Lloró sin pudor, casi rompiéndose los dedos de desesperación, pero no logró quebrantarla. “No pierdas el tiempo”, fue todo cuanto dijo Amaranta. “Si en verdad me queires tanto, no vuelvas a pisar esta casa”. Úrsula creyó enloquecer de vergüenza. Pietro Crespi agotó los recursos de la súplica. Llegó a límites extremos de humillación. Lloró toda una tarde en el regazo de Úrsula, que hubiera vendido el alma por consolarlo. En noches de lluvia se le vio merodear por la casa con un paraguas de seda, tratando de sorprender una luz en el dormitorio de Amaranta. Nunca estuvo mejor vestido que en esa época. Su augusta cabeza de emperador atormentado adquirió un extraño aire de grandeza. Importunó a las amigas de Amaranta, las que iban a bordar en el corredor, para que trataran de persuadirla. Descuidó los negocios. Pasaba el día en la trastienda, escribiendo esquelas desatinadas, que hacía llegar a Amaranta con membranas de pétalos y mariposas disecadas, y que ella devolvía sin abrir. Se encerraba horas y horas a tocar la cítara. Una noche cantó. Macondo despertó en una especie de estupor, angelizado por una cítara que no merecía ser de este mundo y una voz como no podía concebirse que se hubiera otra en la tierra con tanto amor. Pietro Crespi vio entocnes la luz en todas las ventanas del pueblo, menos la de Amaranta. El dos de noviembre, día de todos los muertos, su hermano abrió el almacén y encontró todas las lámparas encendidas y todas las cajas musicales destapadas y todos los relojes trabados en una hora interminable, y en medio de aquel concierto disparatado encontró a Pietro Crespi en el escritorio de la trastienda, con las muñecas cortadas a navaja y las dos manos metidas en una palangana de benjuí.

Úrsula dispuso que se le velara en la casa. El padre Nicanor se oponía a los oficios religiosos y a la sepultura en tierra sagrada. Úrsula se le enfrentó. «De algún modo que ni usted ni yo podemos entender, ese hombre era un santo”, dijo. Así que lo voy a enterrar, contra su voluntad, junto a la tumba de Melquíades.» Lo hizo, con el respaldo de todo el pueblo, en funerales magníficos. Amaranta no abandonó el dormitorio. Oyó desde su cama el llanto de Úrsula, los pasos y murmullos de la multitud que invadió la casa, los aullidos de las plañideras, y luego un hondo silencio oloroso a flores pisoteadas. Durante mucho tiempo siguió sintiendo el hálito de lavanda de Pietro Crespi al atardecer, pero tuvo fuerzas para no sucumbir al delirio. Úrsula la abandonó. Ni siquiera levantó los ojos para apiadarse de ella, la tarde en que Amaranta entró en la cocina y puso la mano en las brasas del fogón, hasta que le dolió tanto que no sintió más dolor, sino la pestilencia de su propia carne chamuscada. Fue una cura de burro para el remordimiento. Durante varios días anduvo por la casa con la mano metida en un tazón con claras de huevo, y cuando sanaron las quema duras pareció como si las claras de huevo hubieran cicatrizado también las úlceras de su corazón. La única huella externa que le dejó la tragedia fue la venda de gasa negra que se puso en la mano quemada, y que había de llevar hasta la muerte”.