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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in ACE Learning Center, ACE Partners, Continuing Education | 0 comments

Slumber, Poetry and Cat Prowess Demonstrated By Oakland International High School Poetry Mascot Samosa

By Guest Blogger Samosa, ACE Poetry Mascot, Oakland International High School

I'm Samosa.  Oakland International High School's Poetry Contest Mascot.  But so much more.

I’m Samosa. Oakland International High School’s Poetry Contest Mascot. But so much more.

Aloof, I enjoy poems,
But dogs, not so much.

Ah, National Poetry Month! A wonderful time of year to immerse myself in some of my favorite poems. Here’s one of them, by Pablo Neruda:


Qué bonito duerme un gato,
duerme con patas y peso,
duerme con sus crueles uñas,
y con su sangre sanguinaria,
duerme con todos los anillos
que como círculos quemados
construyeron la geología
de una cola color de arena.

Quisiera dormir como un gato
con todos los pelos del tiempo,
con la lengua del pedernal,
con el sexo seco del fuego
y después de no hablar con nadie,
tenderme sobre todo el mundo,
sobre las tejas y la tierra
intensamente dirigido
a cazar las ratas del sueño.

He visto cómo ondulaba,
durmiendo, el gato: corría
la noche en él como agua oscura,
y a veces se iba a caer,
se iba tal vez a despeñar
en los desnudos ventisqueros,
tal vez creció tanto durmiendo
como un bisabuelo de tigre
y saltaría en las tinieblas
tejados, nubes y volcanes.
Duerme, duerme, gato nocturno
con tus ceremonias de obispo,
y tu bigote de piedra:
ordena todos nuestros sueños,
dirige la oscuridad
de nuestras dormidas proezas
con tu corazón sanguinario
y el largo cuello de tu cola.

Technology, the theme of this year’s ACE Poetry Contest, puts poems like this one and their translations at our fingertips (or paw-tips, as the case may be). Here’s the same poem, translated into English:


How neatly a cat sleeps,
sleeps with its paws and its posture,
sleeps with its wicked claws,
and with its unfeeling blood,
sleeps with all the rings-
a series of burnt circles-
which have formed the odd geology
of its sand-colored tail.

I should like to sleep like a cat,
with all the fur of time,
with a tongue rough as flint,
with the dry sex of fire;
and after speaking to no one,
stretch myself over the world,
over roofs and landscapes,
with a passionate desire
to hunt the rats in my dreams.

I have seen how the cat asleep
would undulate, how the night
flowed through it like dark water;
and at times, it was going to fall
or possibly plunge into
the bare deserted snowdrifts.
Sometimes it grew so much in sleep
like a tiger’s great-grandfather,
and would leap in the darkness over
rooftops, clouds and volcanoes.

Sleep, sleep cat of the night,
with episcopal ceremony
and your stone-carved moustache.
Take care of all our dreams;
control the obscurity
of our slumbering prowess
with your relentless heart
and the great ruff of your tail.

Translated by Alastair Reid

He’s right, of course. Cat sleep is a marvel and you should all be jealous of my slumbering prowess. With that… Yawn…I bid you good night.


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