The poetry of Aurelio Arturo is both a world and a frame of mind. It is a dazzling and intimate world revealed through the poet’s sympathy with nature. It is a self-contained, complete universe in which every object is a living being, defined by its relations with the other beings that inhabit the same world.
It is a world closed to signification but open to transcendence: in its identification with the natural world, where animals and plants are one and the same ‘vegetation’; in its identification with the senses – the tactile, the aromas “only for the ear”, the wild, rustic tastes; and with living, vital, interrelated beings, all of them charged with meaning and sentiment.
In Morada al sur (A home in the south) Aurelio Arturo selected what he considered to be his life’s work; the rest, consequently, is conjecture.
His poetry does not describe the interior world of the poet’s own feelings: love flows from the contemplation of the outside world and from the music of the verse. It travels through different frames of mind as it moves through the various landscapes and places of his environment, meeting their inhabitants . . . the birds . . . the leaves.
In the end, he goes so deeply into himself (and the reader) that what flows from inside is a profound sensation of plenitude and peace, of harmony with the world, with nature – a feeling of tranquil and serene joy, not subject to sudden frights or fears. The words of his poems transport us into a world of enchantment and fantasy.
The strength of this poetry does not inspire reverential awe; nor does it derive from playing with words. It is a quiet strength, like that of the grass in his poem “covering footsteps, cities, years”. His poetry is like a fog that imperceptibly and slowly surrounds and covers us. Words pass before our eyes, following each other; and before we realise it, we are immersed and profoundly moved, surrounded by poetry.
Arturo’s is a mysterious poetry; but the mystery is not about something we don’t quite understand and therefore fear, but about what surrounds us, something we feel but do not touch. “In the mestizo nights that rose from the grass/ young horses, shadows, brilliant curves . . .” and “the murmur of date trees in the wind.”
His poetry is concerned with the enjoyment of life and, although it does not deny the setbacks and sadnesses of real life, it takes them and involves them in the deep experience of the moment.
Translated by Nicolás Suescún
Song of the quiet night
Song of Leaves and Distances
The Song of Summer
Also on this site
Aurelio Arturo: the poet of paradise lost
Essay by María Mercedes Carranza
Selection of poems on the Banco de la República website.
Essay by poet José Manuel Arango.
Selection of poems.
Essay by María Mercedes Carranza.
Essay by Julio César Goyes Narváez.