After her funeral, the darkness of God

Thomas S. Eliot in Catalan (I) – Translated by Ari Fontrodona


Fifty days, today, after losing her I keep on finding portions of her favourite poems translated to Catalan in her notebooks and on loose sheets of paper inside the books, or in archives in her computer. And as much as the poems themselves are excellent, her translations are excellent. So good and fitting and accurate, that it is a pity they have not been published. Hence, I am posting some of them here and also on her personal blog, posthumously.

Thomas Stearns Eliot was one of Ari’s most loved authors, and “Four Quartets” (1943) her preferred book by him; one of the very few that she was always reading and re-reading, and that carried with her wherever she went.

Here there is a passage of “East Coker” [verses 110-133], of sombre power and a desolate –and sometimes, upsetting– beauty:


And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,

Nobody’s funeral, for there is no one to bury.

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,

The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed

With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of

darkness on darkness,

And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama

And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away–

Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long

between stations

And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence

And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen

Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;

Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious

of nothing–

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.

The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,

The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy

Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony

Of death and birth.


I tots anem amb ells, vers el funeral silenciós,

El funeral de ningú, perquè no hi ha ningú per enterrar.

Vaig dir a la meva ànima, estigues quieta i deixa que la foscor davalli sobre teu

Que serà l’obscuritat de Déu. Com, al teatre,

Els llums s’apaguen a l’hora de canviar l’escenari

Amb una remor sorda de bastidors, amb un bellugueig de

foscor en la foscor,

I ja sabem que els turons i els arbres, el panorama de fons

I l’agosarada i imponent façana; tot s’ho enduen enrotllat–

O com, quan un tren subterrani, al túnel, s’atura massa estona

entre estacions.

I la conversa s’alça i s’esvaeix lentament en el silenci

I hom veu rere cada rostre la buidor mental que es fa fonda

Deixant només l’esglai creixent de no tenir res que rumiar;

O quan, sotmesa a l’èter, la ment és conscient, però conscient

de no res–

Vaig dir a la meva ànima, estigues quieta, i espera sense esperança

Ja que seria esperança de la cosa equivocada; espera sense amor

Ja que seria amor a la cosa equivocada; encara resta la fe

Però la fe i l’amor i l’esperança rauen sols en l’espera.

Espera’t sense pensaments, car no estàs dispost per al pensament:

Així l’obscuritat serà la llum, i la quietud, la dansa.

Murmuri de rierols, i llampegueig d’hivern.

L’amagat timó silvestre i la maduixa silvestre,

La rialla en el jardí, l’eco d’un èxtasi

No esvanit, sinó exigint, assenyalant, l’agonia

De la mort i la naixença.

[Thomas. S. Eliot; ‘East Coker’, III; 110-133. Traduït per Ari Fontrodona]


Four Quartets – Original edition (Faber and Faber, 1943)


6 thoughts on “After her funeral, the darkness of God

  1. This resonates strongly . . . more simple enlightenment than I’ve found in entire volumes or courses . . . perhaps all Truth lies in paradox, echoes the silent observer . . . the final meditation unfailing. Many hugs and thanks brother !!!

    Liked by 1 person

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