domingo, 30 de diciembre de 2012


¿Conozco al menos la naturaleza? ¿Me conozco? — Basta de palabras. Sepulto a los muertos en mi vientre. ¡Gritos, tambor, danza, danza, danza, ¡danza! Ni siquiera se me ocurre que a la hora en que los blancos desembarquen, yo caeré en la nada.
Hambre, sed, gritos, danza, danza, danza, ¡danza!

Connais-je encore la nature? me connais-je? — Plus de mots. J'ensevelis les morts dans mon ventre. Cris, tambour, danse, danse, danse, danse! Je ne vois même pas l'heure où, les blancs débarquant, je tomberai au néant.
Faim, soif, cris, danse, danse, danse, danse!

Una temporada en el infierno
Une Saison en Enfer
Arthur Rimbaud
Hiperión; Madrid, España, 1992
Traducción al español de Ramón Buenaventura
[ p.51 ]

Ray Bradbury : Fahrenheit 451

Una lectura que comienza

viernes, 21 de diciembre de 2012

Many thanks to you — Long John

It was a strange collection, like Billy Bones’s hoard for the diversity of coinage, but so much larger and so much more varied that I think I never had more pleasure than in sorting them. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Georges, and Louises, doubloons and double guineas and moidores and sequins, the pictures of all the kings of Europe for the last hundred years, strange Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of string or bits of spider’s web, round pieces and square pieces, and pieces bored through the middle, as if to wear them round your neck — nearly every variety of money in the world must, I think, have found a place in that collection; and for number, I am sure they were like autumn leaves, so that my back ached with stooping and my fingers with sorting them out.

(... )

At last, seeing the ship still bore on her course and was now swiftly drawing out of earshot, one of them — I know not which it was — leapt to his feet with a hoarse cry, whipped his musket to his shoulder, and sent a shot whistling over Silver’s head and through the mainsail.

After that, we kept under cover of the bulwarks, and when next I looked out they had disappeared from the spit, and the spit itself had almost melted out of sight in the growing distance. That was, at least, the end of that; and before noon, to my inexpressible joy, the highest rock of Treasure Island had sunk into the blue round of sea.

(... )

Ben Gunn was on deck alone, and as soon as we came on board he began, with wonderful contortions, to make us a confession. Silver was gone. The maroon had connived at his escape in a shore boat some hours ago, and he now assured us he had only done so to preserve our lives, which would certainly have been forfeit if “that man with the one leg had stayed aboard.” But this was not all. The sea cook had not gone empty-handed. He had cut through a bulkhead unobserved and had removed one of the sacks of coin, worth perhaps three or four hundred guineas, to help him on his further wanderings.

(... )

The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I know, where Flint buried them; and certainly they shall lie there for me. Oxen and wain-ropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island; and the worst dreams that ever I have are when I hear the surf booming about its coasts or start upright in bed with the sharp voice of Captain Flint still ringing in my ears: “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!”

Karle Wilson Baker : The Garden of the Plynck

Una lectura que comienza

jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2012

Captain Silver

There was a long pause after this. I stood straight up against the wall, my heart still going like a sledge-hammer, but with a ray of hope now shining in my bosom. Silver leant back against the wall, his arms crossed, his pipe in the corner of his mouth, as calm as though he had been in church; yet his eye kept wandering furtively, and he kept the tail of it on his unruly followers. They, on their part, drew gradually together towards the far end of the block house, and the low hiss of their whispering sounded in my ear continuously, like a stream. One after another, they would look up, and the red light of the torch would fall for a second on their nervous faces; but it was not towards me, it was towards Silver that they turned their eyes.

domingo, 16 de diciembre de 2012

Israel Hands

Before he could recover, I was safe out of the corner where he had me trapped, with all the deck to dodge about. Just forward of the main-mast I stopped, drew a pistol from my pocket, took a cool aim, though he had already turned and was once more coming directly after me, and drew the trigger. The hammer fell, but there followed neither flash nor sound; the priming was useless with sea-water. I cursed myself for my neglect. Why had not I, long before, reprimed and reloaded my only weapons? Then I should not have been as now, a mere fleeing sheep before this butcher.

( . . . )

I was drinking in his words and smiling away, as conceited as a cock upon a wall, when, all in a breath, back went his right hand over his shoulder. Something sang like an arrow through the air; I felt a blow and then a sharp pang, and there I was pinned by the shoulder to the mast. In the horrid pain and surprise of the moment—I scarce can say it was by my own volition, and I am sure it was without a conscious aim— both my pistols went off, and both escaped out of my hands. They did not fall alone; with a choked cry, the coxswain loosed his grasp upon the shrouds and plunged head first into the water.

A deep silence filled the classroom at first; then we all burst into cheers — and so, another afternoon went by on 1965, forever ours, treasured and lost.

Angela Carter : The Magic Toyshop

Una lectura que comienza

viernes, 14 de diciembre de 2012

That school afternoon . . .

All the time he was jerking out these phrases he was stumping up and down the tavern on his crutch, slapping tables with his hand, and giving such a show of excitement as would have convinced an Old Bailey judge or a Bow Street runner. My suspicions had been thoroughly reawakened on finding Black Dog at the ‘Spy-glass’, and I watched the cook narrowly. But he was too deep, and too ready, and too clever for me, and by the time the two men had come back out of breath and confessed that they had lost the track in a crowd, and been scolded like thieves, I would have gone bail for the innocence of Long John Silver.

And so it happened that, after reading that last paragraph, we all knew the fine boy was in deep trouble . . .

Treasure Island; by Robert Louis Stevenson


SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17— and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

And so — this is how it begins, my friend — and never ends.

Robert Louis Stevenson : Treasure Island

Una lectura que comienza

lunes, 10 de diciembre de 2012

El trovador

Trobar significa “encontrar, hallar”. Frente al poeta o la voz colectiva que canta las hazañas del héroe en la poesía épica, el trovador tiene nombre propio, y su arte es personal, independiente, libre, porque ha sido él quien ha “encontrado” nuevas melodías y nuevas fórmulas poéticas con las que enriquecer el acervo de la lírica que practica.  A lo mejor no las ha “encontrado” en realidad, pero él no lo sabe, porque quizá no sepa (sólo quizá) que no es posible “encontrar” nada. Pero en la pureza de su juego no hay lugar para metafísicas. El trovador no es un juglar. El trovador es un aristócrata, aunque su abuelo haya nacido entre la servidumbre. (pp.XI-XII; del prólogo de Luis Alberto de Cuenca)

Guillermo de Aquitania
Poesía Completa
Ediciones Siruela. Madrid, España, 1983

martes, 4 de diciembre de 2012

Sobre la conducta de los monos

Suponga que uno tiene seis monos en una pieza. Del cielo raso, cuelga un “cacho” de bananas. Justo debajo de él hay una escalera (como la de un pintor o un carpintero). No hace falta que pase mucho tiempo para que uno de los monos suba las escaleras hacia las bananas.

Y ahí comienza el experimento: en el mismo momento en que toca la escalera, todos los monos son rociados con agua helada. Naturalmente, eso detiene al mono.

Luego de un rato, o bien el mismo mono o alguno de los otros hace otro intento con el mismo resultado: todos los monos son rociados con el agua helada a poco que uno de ellos toque la escalera. Cuando este proceso se repite un par de veces más, los monos ya están advertidos. No bien alguno de ellos quiere intentarlo, los otros tratan de evitarlo, y terminan a los golpes si es necesario.

Una vez que llegamos a este estadío, retiramos uno de los monos de la pieza, y lo sustituimos por uno nuevo (que obviamente no participó del experimento hasta aquí). El nuevo mono ve las bananas e inmediatamente trata de subir por las escaleras. Para su horror, todos los otros monos lo atacan. Y obviamente se lo impiden. Luego de un par de intentos más, el nuevo mono ya aprendió: si intenta subir por las escaleras, lo van a golpear sin piedad.

Luego, se repite el procedimiento: se retira un segundo mono y se incluye uno nuevo otra vez. El recién llegado va hacia las escaleras y el proceso se repite: no bien la toca (la escalera), es atacado masivamente. No sólo eso: el mono que había entrado justo antes que él (¡que nunca había experimentado el agua helada!) participaba del episodio de violencia con gran entusiasmo.

Un tercer mono es reemplazado y no bien intenta subir las escaleras, los otros cinco lo golpean, impidiéndoselo. Con todo, dos de los monos que lo golpean no tienen ni idea del porqué uno no puede subir las escaleras.

Se reemplaza un cuarto mono, luego el quinto y por último, el sexto, que a esta altura es el único que quedaba del grupo original. Al sacar a éste, ya no queda ninguno que haya experimentado el episodio del agua helada. Sin embargo, una vez que el último lo intenta un par de veces, y es golpeado furiosamente por los otros cinco, ahora queda establecida la regla: no se puede subir por las escaleras. Quien lo hace se expone a una represión brutal. Sólo que ahora ninguno de los seis tiene argumentos para sostener tal barbarie.

Cualquier similitud con la realidad de los humanos, no es pura coincidencia ni casualidad. Es que así somos: como monos.

Esta historia me la contó mi sobrina Lorena, cuando todavía no se había graduado de bióloga en la UBA ni se había casado con Ignacio Demarco, otro biólogo. Pero siempre me impactó por todo lo que implica en cuanto se trata de explicar la conducta de los humanos (la fuente es De banaan wordt bespreekbaar, de Tom Pauka y Rein Zunderdorp, Nijgh en van Ditmar, 1988).

Adrián Paenza
"Matemática... ¿estás ahí?"