The soft wait and the eternal memory

What will I expect? We sometimes want to think that Ramón López Velarde asked himself in the afternoons, as he leaned out the window of his apartment on Avenida Jalisco, who still did not know that he would end up being called Álvaro Obregón. Impossible not to imagine the poet, especially now, when 134 years have passed since his birth and a century plus a year since his tremendous death.

Born on June 15, 1888 in Jerez, Zacatecas, in the wettest year in memory up to that date, according to the oldest Galván’s calendar, he surely remembered how at the age of twelve he had gone to study at the Conciliar Seminary of Zacatecas until realizing that it was not what he expected either. That he had studied law in San Luis Potosí and had met Francisco I. Madero. Perhaps he saw himself fired up, writing political prose for the first time in support of the Anti-Reelectionist Party and later lamenting how, little by little, illusions and hopes faded away due to the horrors and violence of that war. He approved the San Luis Plan, did not embark on the revolutionary adventure and concluded his studies to become a lawyer in 1911. But it was not what he expected either.

He had already published chronicles, poems, short essays and political journalism in several provincial newspapers and with his pen he covered and released everything. For this reason, to try his luck, he moved definitively to the capital in 1914. In Mexico City, as José Luis Martínez rightly said, “he fulfilled the dark destiny of suitors without court titles”: He held modest bureaucratic positions, practiced teaching, made effusive and quick friendships and went through the world of bohemia and journalists.

In 1916 he published his first book of poetry, La sangre devota, and in 1919 his second, Zozobra, appeared. His poetry, initially seen as a recovery of provincial themes, was actually the invention of apparently bucolic images and situations that were never such a thing. He is neither a provincial poet nor a “campirano” artist, as Alfonso Reyes said, rather they provoked a kind of spiritual and literary displacement, with adjectives as splendid as they are precise (Fernando Fernández already says so in his wonderful book “La majesty de lo minimum”) and a very pure voice of its own.

Already alone in his apartment, with the teeth of poetry nailed into his soul forever, with many verses dedicated to women, to many women, to all those he did not have, to all those he yearned for and was deeply passionate about. , surely Ramón López Velarde remembered his cousin Águeda, with her “contradictory prestige of starch and fearsome ceremonious mourning”, or perhaps Margarita and the verses she had written for her:

“Your autumns lull me to sleep / in a chorus of stubborn chimeras; / you go in me as the bandage goes in the wound; / in well-being of placidity you intoxicate me; / the local moon goes in your eyes / oh soft that you are among all soft! / and I don’t know yet / what my hopes will expect of you”.

Quite likely he also remembered other pains and all their lyrics:

“Give me all the tears of the sea./ My eyes are dry and I suffer/ an immense desire to cry. I don’t know if I’m sad for the soul/ of my faithful departed/ or because our withered hearts/ will never be on earth together. / Make me cry, sister, / and Christian mercy / from your seamless hand / wipe away the tears with which I cry / the bitter time of my useless life.

Fuensanta: do you know the sea?

They say it is less big and less deep than sorrow.“

Then maybe he stopped remembering and went outside. They had just named him “national poet”. It was June 19, 1921 and he did not imagine that death would reach him before dawn. He still didn’t know that his poem “Soft Homeland” would end up turning him into the center of an equivocal nationalist exaltation, a sixth-grade nightmare and the inspiration for crap phrases that were never understood. When the memory became a certainty, the truth turned out to be deeper: Ramón López Velarde would consecrate himself as the great poet of the Spanish language, capable of breaking with old and worn-out legacies to create, from a dark and brilliant world, an unsurpassed language. , provocative and new.

Homeland? Of course. And he said it like nobody else. Because it seems, if one is reading it, that when López Velarde gets gloomy, it is because our nation is in danger and everyone “wants to die in his spirit and his style.” But when everything happens, it is convenient to remember that the country is impeccable and diamantine and read again the final verses of “Suave Patria”:

“Homeland, I give you the key to your happiness: always be the same, faithful to your daily mirror; / Fifty times the Bird pierced in the thread of the rosary is the same, / and it is happier than you, gentle homeland. / Be equal and faithful; pupils of abandonment;/ thirsty voice, the tri-guarantee girdle/ in your steamed breasts; and a throne / out in the open, like a rattle: / the allegorical road of straw.”

Later we can gently wait for what comes.

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