Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST April 22nd 2020

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

6 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST April 22nd 2020

  1. chelletauz

    Shao Tao

    I mustered the courage to grab hold of my pen.

    The pen cuts into my thumb and middle distal phalanges.
    My index distal interphalangeal joint hurts.
    My right hand trembles.

    I impale down.

    A piece of lined paper.
    One pierced depression.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am looking~~

    I cast my eyes toward the luminous sunrise.
    Blazing star radiating hues of reds, oranges and yellows upon the horizon,
    backlighting objects which dare to stand in its way.
    Rising as a phoenix from the darkness,
    bringing hope to those who have fallen.

    Nature wipes the sleep from its eyes and stands at attention.
    A new day has begun.
    A second chance has been given.
    New possibilities await.
    Life renewed.

    A gift miraculously given.
    No time to waste.
    Let us offer thanks.
    Let us offer thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What I’m looking for: I’m looking for the opposite of forced smiles, trite conversations and contrived social interactions, or in other words acts of selflessness and true compassion that are hard to come by in a big city where the struggle to survive is manifest in many faces

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kana

    What I am Looking for

    I am walking on the shore at night,
    looking at my white sandals.
    I find beautiful shells sleeping in the fine sand.
    Dreaming colorful but sensitive dreams.
    Where did they come from?
    Who inhabited them?
    I look at the ocean.
    The silence, the darkness, the vastness.
    Is the answer in this ocean?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dr Yewande Okuleye

    I find gratitude in being in your story.
    Understanding the pain of Only.
    We feel we know how to be.
    We feel, we know, how to be?
    We, feel, we , know, how to be in the coolness of the see.
    Solace.

    Liked by 2 people

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