Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I crown you, Mother

My mother had her birthday yesterday. It's been a surreal year so far for the family, so I wanted to give her something original, as original as her love, contribution, and warmth that she brings (so, yea, so I'm a mama's boy, yea, I'm a son).

I wanted to do a calligraphy piece from a poem of a poet she likes, Pablo Neruda. But after I found "Sonnet 31", I wanted to crown her with his words more than concentrating on calligraphy. I recently purchased a Pilot Parallel Pen, which I'm excited about, but it has a wide nib, big enough that it didn't give me room to draw the foliage deco that I wanted to design with the size of Bristol board I have. So I settled with a less cooler calligraphy marker.

With the spirit of being original, making a piece that's un-repeatable, captured in the moment, and of being on time, I wanted to do this as a stream of consciousness. I winged the calligraphy, with only one horizontal line drawn in pencil showing the top of the x-height of the first line of the sonnet as a guide to the rest of the poem. The decos are winged too, only loosely sketched in pencil first, just to make sure I have room for everything. I only looked at the visions the poem paints as inspiration.

It's in Spanish, for we are a Spanish-speaking family.

Soneto XXXI
 The shape of the paper is designed so I can crown her with the poem (and I did), like the Romans wreathed themselves (notice how the two loops can go around the ears).

This is the poem in Spanish and in English:

Soneto XXXI
Con laureles del Sur y orégano de Lota
te corono, pequeña monarca de mis huesos,
y no puede faltarte esa corona
que elabora la tierra con bálsamo y follaje. 

Eres, como el que te ama, de las provincias verdes:
de allá trajimos barro que nos corre en la sangre,
en la ciudad andamos, como tantos, perdidos,
temerosos de que cierren el mercado. 

Bienamada, tu sombra tiene olor a ciruela,
tus ojos escondieron en el Sur sus raíces,
tu corazón es una paloma de alcancía, 

tu cuerpo es liso como las piedras en el agua,
tus besos son racimos con rocío,
y yo a tu lado vivo con la tierra.

Pablo Neruda 1959

Sonnet 31

With laurel from The South, and Lota oregano,

I crown you, little monarch of my bones,

and you cannot do without this crown,

that the earth elaborates with foliage and balsam.

You are as he who loves you, from the green provinces:
from where we brought the clay that runs in our blood,

In cities we go about, like so many, lost,

fearful that the market will be closed.

Beloved, your shadow has the plum's aroma,

the roots of your eyes remain hidden in the south,

your heart is a dove-shaped collection-box,

your body is as smooth as stones in the water,

each kiss a cluster covered over with dew,

and I, at your side, live with the earth.
Pablo Neruda 1959

"Sonnet 31" is 61 years old. It's older than my mom. :-) 

Happy Birthday, little monarch of my bones.