The Perplexing Redness Of Its RedFriday, March 18, 2016
Different forms of Spanish are spoken around the world. Castilian Spanish, the Spaniards and the Argentines, call it castellano. Other countries, including Mexico opt for español. In Spanish be it Castilian or Spanish, languages are not capitalized. The same applies to the days of the week and the months of the year.
Argentines don’t like to use the word rojo for red. They consider that word ordinary and prefer the older colorado which explains the original name of the American state of Colorado.
Strictly speaking colorado means in colour and not red but that has been forgotten. Colorado is red.
When I used to read fairy stories to my daughters in Spanish I would finish the evening with “Colorín colorado este cuento se ha acabado.” (this story is now finished).
As a very young boy my favourite colour was azúl or blue. With so much of it (and gray and green) in Vancouver I now really like ochre.
We recently had our psychiatric couch (which is in our piano room) re-coveree to vermillion. In Spanish that’s bermejo.
In one of the few poems where the elegant Jorge Luís Borges has mentioned red he applies it to the strange fact that red roses are still called roses.
La Lluvia – Jorge Luís Borges
Bruscamente la tarde se ha aclarado
Porque ya cae la lluvia minuciosa.
Cae o cayó. La lluvia es una cosa
Que sin duda sucede en el pasado.
Quien la oye caer ha recobrado
El tiempo en que la suerte venturosa
Le reveló una flor llamada rosa
Y el curioso color del colorado.
Esta lluvia que ciega los cristales
Alegrará en perdidos arrabales
Las negras uvas de una parra en cierto
Patio que ya no existe. La mojada
Tarde me trae la voz, la voz deseada,
De mi padre que vuelve y que no ha muerto.
By Jorge Luis Borges
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
The afternoon has brightened up at last
For rain is falling, sudden and minute.
Falling or fallen. There is no dispute:
Rain is a thing that happens in the past.
Who hears it fall retrieves a time that fled
When an uncanny windfall could disclose
To him a flower by the name of rose
And the perplexing redness of its red.
Falling until it blinds each windowpane,
Within a suburb now long lost this rain
Shall liven black grapes on a vine inside
A certain patio that is no more.
A long-awaited voice through the downpour
Is from my father. He has never died.