of a place bounded like a dreamTuesday, October 24, 2017
Both my mother and my grandmother were snobs. I was raised to be one and I will not deny it.
Often my mother would say, “Hay poca gente fina como nosotros.” This translates to something like, “There are few people who are elegant and well-mannered as we are.”
Because my grandmother worked for the Filipino Legation in Buenos Aires and then at the Embassy in Mexico City, both my mother and my grandmother, went to many parties. Some involved events in which Diego Rivera, Alma Reed and well known Mexican actors were attendees.
This meant that I would watch them choose dresses and the proper jewellery to wear. A little dab of Chanel Number 5 and off they were. Even I, about 13 years old, knew elegance when I saw it.
Lisa Montonen, who rarely uttered words was elegance at a Platonic Essence.
I have chosen Jorge Luís Borges's poem A un gato (To a cat) because his words describe something about cats that I marvel at always. Just seeing Casi-Casi, Rosemary’s cat, sprawled on our bed, his paws in elegance that only a ballet dancer could mimic for me is like Lisa Montonen, a definition of elegance and grace.
No son más silenciosos los espejos
ni más furtiva el alba aventurera;
eres, bajo la luna, esa pantera
que nos es dado divisar de lejos.
Por obra indescifrable de un decreto
divino, te buscamos vanamente;
más remoto que el Ganges y el poniente,
tuya es la soledad, tuyo el secreto.
Tu lomo condesciende a la morosa
caricia de mi mano. Has admitido,
desde esa eternidad que ya es olvido,
el amor de la mano recelosa.
En otro tiempo estás. Eres el dueño
de un ámbito cerrado como un sueño.
Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.