by María Agustina Pardini

Shroud For A Soul

His soul shrieked at
The touch of the cold iron bars,
Confined, existing in vain,
Sentenced, living in pain.
Elated by a diurnal shaft of light,
Soon to be dismissed when evening closed.
Caged into immobility, into oblivion, into delirium.

Spreading his wings like an unbarred prisoner,
He measured the size of the cage,
To collect his dignity, to emulate freedom.
A cold gentle breeze, a residue of liberation
Caressed his fragile, fagged feathers.

Locked inside the
Still unravelled enigma,
He looked up, his eyes empty,
Glassy, the vacant sight of a once
Luminous soul.
The wave of vitality ebbing,
The wave of silence flowing.
Involuntary displacement made him
Writhe in agony.
The reminiscence of a past drug
The intoxicating sea smell,
The addictive seashell resonance.
Here, in his enforced discipline,
The current of life collapsed.
Complacently, he shut his eyes.

La difunta Correa

The soldiers mocked the moon and took
A man from his wife’s care,
Recruited was his soul
And his dear wife’s despair.

A civil war had broken
The country’s fragile peace.
Enlisted men, be fearful! For
The fight will never cease.

Oh! Very dear sweet deceased,
We pray for your intervention.
Keep us safe on our long, wide ride,
We now ask for your protection.
Blessed are those whose souls you touch,
We implore your cooperation.

Seeing her husband leave drove his
Wife to desperation.
She took her baby in her arms
And ran across the nation.

Like keen travellers through the mist,
They both made their way,
But the sun’s heat blazed above, the road
Offered no leafy shade.

Oh! Very dear sweet deceased,
We pray for your intervention.
Keep us safe on our long, wide ride:
We now ask for your protection.
Blessed are those whose souls you touch,
We implore your cooperation.

In exchange for rest and shelter
She kissed death on the cheek.
Dehydration had turned
All her prayers useless, weak.

Some shepherds were walking
Later on, ahead,
When they saw, by the corpse, her baby,
Who had survived, breastfed.

Oh! Very dear sweet deceased,
We pray for your intervention,
Keep us safe on our long, wide ride
We now ask for your protection,
Blessed are those whose souls you touch
We implore your cooperation.

Moans of Despair
(Based on Howl by Allen Ginsberg)

I see the women of my generation destroyed by inequality, living in fear,
Taking to the streets at dusk in protest over chauvinism, fighting for their rights,
Empowered female fighters burning to eradicate a social disease, misogyny,
Raging against the war machine of our days.

Who can put an end to this harassment and cry to stop
the violence, stop the silence, stop the rape, stop the corruption?
Everyday, they chain their bodies to lampposts to call for somebody’s attention,
Until the rain washes their mascara and the icy July’s wind touches their skins.

Their feet are tired for they have been walking since ever.
Their eyes are dry for they have been filling rivers with crystal diamonds.
Their voices are cracked for their rights have long been silenced.
Tic- toc- ti, the revolution of the clock. It stops at every new brutal femicide.

Lucía was abducted from her bed, fear made her heart stop beating.
María could not see the sunrise, her body was dragged into the depths of the night.
Clara never got to the job interview, her illusions were snatched before she arrived.
Silvia let her murderer in, she had shared the bed with him that night.

A crowd of women packed in Plaza de Mayo, wandering grief carriers,
Marching with the dead, singing their hearts out for the women’s emancipation,
Not yours, machismo kills, never again, my body & my rules, not one less
All signs read. Thousands of drums echoing the beating of their hearts.

I see the women of my generation refusing to give up this obsession.
Preventing parliamentary legislation from building more oppression.
Hand in hand, creating a protective barrier where we now all stand, trembling in the
Supernatural darkness, determined to make us all savour the bitter taste of defeat.

Falling in love
(The ghazal)

Morning came like a hummingbird hovering nearby.
Full of promise, it displayed its sovereign rays.

Night fell swiftly upon the curtained, moonless window,
Sucked her heart and dragged the lingering love away.

Morning came seeking the light, climbing the long, rugged walls.
Hooking a root into the cement, a seed gave its life to the day.

Night fell, obliterated the beams of golden love.
The little plant shrieked like a mandrake; the sky turned grey.

Morning came like a visitor to stay.
Morning came, grew gnarled roots.
Till Doomsday, I hope it stays.

You may well come

You may well come another day, death.
The day age, grown, knotted, like a withered garden
Looking for light, steps into darkness; the day
The scent of jasmine decides not to tiptoe into
My room at night.

The day my cloudy eyes seem offended,
I will need the radiance of a newborn star above,
To care for me, to lessen the torment,
To guide my steps across the fields
On a sleepless, hot summer night.

The last drop of a fine red wine shall
Not tingle any sensation on the tip of my
Tongue and the oily blackberry flavour will
Die quickly in my mouth, will give way to a
Despairing tasteless night.

The temperature of my skin,
All Evidence extinguished, swept through
Ashes, will recall the time when
Fierce flames served as witnesses
To long, lascivious nights.

The day I grow weary of the incessant chatter
A swarm of budgies; the day they feel noisy,
The day they seem intrusive,
The day I choose silence;
Death, you may well come that die-a-ble nigh

Alfonsina Storni

Waves must have turned into an icy rage that night,
Crisp air of wrongness; like a shooting star
Which leaves death in its wake; you hugged the sea.
“Only I can craft your fate”, God clamoured,
“And no sky will watch your sleep, if you’re gone,
And no moss will be your quilt, come dawn.”
A shared pain wrapped us, your still disarmed readers.
We always wondered what grief drowned you alive.
Your deathless soul brawled with deep agony,
But now your soul shines in a star, poor
Moon, who is jealous of your dazzling light.

High, up the royal
Ruins of Lion Fortress
Silence hangs in the air,
Inside a damp cave I find
Frescoes of damsels dancing.

About the Author:

Maria A.

María Agustina Pardini is a writer, reviewer, teacher, and translator. She graduated as a Literary Translator and years later got a Bachelor degree in the English Language (four years). She is starting her Masters in Comparative Literature next year. She has been studying Drama for the last seven years with different experienced actors and playwrights. She works as a teacher of Literature and as a Theatre and Book Reviewer. She spends her free time reading, going to the theatre, writing poetry and traveling around the world.