Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chilean Poet Carlos Trujillo's "Old Man"

In 2003 the Chilean poet Carlos Trujillo began to write poems based on Rogovin's photos. Nada Queda Atrás (Nothing Left Behind) contains forty poems and forty photographs from that collaboration. Published by the Museum of Modern Art Chiloé (2008).
"Old Man" , From the Chile photo series, 1967
                       (THE OLD MAN)

The years fell upon me like a landslide
If you look carefully
You will see a mishmash of time, earth and dust
Not just skin and bone
I have always carried my years on my back
I was born old
For since my first cry
I have shouldered
The entire history of my ancestors.

Look at me carefully, I ask you
I am the face of the earth
I am the wrinkled face of the planet
In my face run ravines and rivers
Southern winds and rolling stones
Open seas and hills

Look at me carefully, I ask you
Even my poor clothing is the face of the earth
My dusty jacket of other old yesterdays
Inhabits days and nights at the same time
With the brush of an artist
Shadow and light painting mysterious reliefs

Immense lapels that have never seen an iron
One resting against his chest like a book cover
The other peering out of the corner of its eye like a sail
A small beam of sunlight upon the heart
The slightest beam of sunlight
Upon the heart
Is all that life needs to live

Look at my face, I ask you
Look at my lips, thick on a planetary scale
Look at my solid, godly nose of dark stone
Look at my eyes, they have seen it all
And would see it all again
Look at my cheeks, raised like hills
By the pride of my people
Look at my thinned hair and the wrinkles on my forehead
Look at the beret that has lived upon my head
For as long as I can remember
Look at the thick boards of the wall behind me
Look at its years, discover its stories
Look at the tree that branches out happy
To be a southern tree, drinker of a thousand rains and thunders
Look at the white angel wings it has begun to grow.

Look at my face

And you will see the whole world.

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