We all will be at the port with the Unknown
JV Foix (On the death of Ferrater)
The liturgical harmonium of the street,
Germany’s poorest organ,
took ship with those emigrating,
who brought it to the brothels of Buenos Aires.
Like a priest who has apostatized,
it trailed about there among stories
of loneliness and melancholy.
I have always loved tangos. I heard them
when I was a child, on Sunday afternoons,
with my father and mother dancing
up and down the hallway of our house.
They are the voice of an epic that is lost,
with the bandoneon trailing
words that speak of guilty love.
Those who danced them in the hallway
now are only inside a tango.
Strangely happy, an old man sings it
trying out a dance-step as he comes closer
with a smile to the Unknown.
translated from the Catalan by Anna Crowe