Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session! The sea was present in both text and group as several transatlantic participants joined us from Morocco, France, England, and Italy. We were glad to welcome back those who have become a source of warmth and comfort week to week.
The text we chose (posted below) was a song, “Alfonsina and the Sea” (Alfonsina y el mar), originally written in Spanish by Argentinian writer and lyricist Félix Luna, and composed by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez. Luna wrote the song in homage to Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938), one of the most revered poets of Latin American literature. The song echoes the influence that the sea had on Storni’s writing and life, alluding to her suicide on La Perla beach in Mar del Plata, Argentina. While this text was particularly delicate, our participants were up for the challenge; together we persevered through the poignancy of its content in both English and Spanish, calling attention to the beauty in its form, voice, and sound. Participants commented on the melodious quality of the work, where the text’s lines themselves seemed to ebb and flow like ocean waves. We concluded that the song was like a ballad, having a rhythm of an embodied performance. The switches in narrative voice, the balance between passive and active elements (what is choice vs. what is taken away), and the wavering between the absolute and the variable/the universal and the particular, were unique features that allowed us to dive all the more into the text’s depths. One participant was reminded of refugees in the Mediterranean, and noted the myriad of ways that texts can be interpreted and appropriated. We are grateful for the willingness of the group to engage with “Alfonsina and the Sea,” which explored difficult subject matter during a particularly difficult time.
Our prompt was: Write about what you are looking for… The facilitators were struck by the original ways that participants incorporated multiple languages, aquatic imagery, and senses into their writing.
Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.
Please join us for our next session: Thursday, April 23rd at 7pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.
We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Alfonsina and the sea Félix Luna & Ariel Ramírez Por la blanda arena que lame el mar Su pequeña huella no vuelve más Un sendero solo de pena y silencio Llegó hasta el agua profunda Un sendero solo de penas mudas Llegó hasta la espuma Sabe Dios qué angustia te acompañó Qué dolores viejos calló tu voz, Para recostarte arrullada en el canto De las caracolas marinas. La canción que canta en el fondo oscuro del mar La caracola Te vas Alfonsina con tu soledad, ¿Qué poemas nuevos fuiste a buscar? Una voz antigua de viento y de sal Te requiebra el alma Y te está llevando Y te vas, hacia allá como en sueños Dormida, Alfonsina, vestida de mar Cinco sirenitas te llevarán Por caminos de algas y de coral Y fosforescentes caballos marinos harán Una ronda a tu lado. Y los habitantes del agua Van a jugar pronto a tu lado Bájame la lámpara un poco más Déjame que duerma, nodriza, en paz Y si llama él no le digas que estoy Dile que Alfonsina no vuelve Y si llama él no le digas nunca que estoy Di que me he ido Te vas Alfonsina con tu soledad, ¿Qué poemas nuevos fuiste a buscar? Una voz antigua de viento y de sal Te requiebra el alma Y te está llevando Y te vas, hacia allá como en sueños Dormida, Alfonsina, vestida de mar Álbum: Mujeres Argentinas Publicación:1969 Género: zamba Duración: 4:35 Compositor: Ariel Ramírez Letrista: Félix Luna
Alfonsina and the sea Félix Luna & Ariel Ramírez Across the soft sand that the waves lick Her small footprints are not coming back anymore Only one path made of sorrow and silence Reached the deep water Only one path made of untold sorrows Reached the foam Only God knows about the anguish that accompanied you And about the old pains your voice never told That caused you to go to sleep, lulled by the song Of the seashells The song sung in the depths of the dark sea by The seashell You're going away, Alfonsina Along with your loneliness What kind of new poems did you go looking for? An ancient voice made of wind and salt Is shattering your soul and taking you away And you go there, like in a dream Asleep, Alfonsina, dressed with the sea Five little mermaids will escort you Through paths made of seaweed and corals And phosphorescent sea horses will sing A round, by your side And the aquatic dwellers Will soon play by your side Dim the light of the lamp a bit for me Let me sleep in peace, nurse And if he calls don't tell him I'm here Tell him that Alfonsina is not coming back And if he calls never tell him I'm here Tell him that I have left You're going away, Alfonsina Along with your loneliness What kind of new poems did you go looking for? An ancient voice made of wind and salt Is shattering your soul and taking you away And you go there, like in a dream Asleep, Alfonsina, dressed with the sea