My Rosemary spoke French and her Spanish was pretty good. This meant that through our 52 year marriage we did a lot of Spanglish. I would read her poems in Spanish or excerpts from my fave Argentine authors and of course a couple of Uruguayans, Mario Benedetti and Eduardo Galeano.
With her gone, I miss our bedtime banter while I would constantly interrupt her with, “Listen to this..”
There is something wonderful and quite intangible in living with someone who speaks more than one language. That we lived in Mexico for 7 years and often visited my relatives in Argentina or had hot vacations in Mérida or went to Guanajuato and Morelia with Rebecca cemented this multi-cultural bond with a decided direction of the Latin American experience.
An Argentine poet, Juan Gelman wrote a poem that began with the question, “If God were a woman?” Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti wrote his own poem with that wonderful beginning. For me, in all my years with Rosemary, I found she was pretty well infallible in all things. And yes if I am now living a lonely but comfortably free of financial problems life it is because of Rosemary. Wherever I look in our little Kits house I see my Rosemary and how right she was in all that we did. This is why I applaud and love Benedetti’s poem. It is below in Spanish and after in English.
Who Will Be First? May 18, 2013
Si Dios fuera una mujer
¿y si Dios fuera una mujer?
¿Y si Dios fuera mujer?
pregunta Juan sin inmutarse,
vaya, vaya si Dios fuera mujer
es posible que agnósticos y ateos
no dijéramos no con la cabeza
y dijéramos sí con las entrañas.
Tal vez nos acercáramos a su divina desnudez
para besar sus pies no de bronce,
su pubis no de piedra,
sus pechos no de mármol,
sus labios no de yeso.
Si Dios fuera mujer la abrazaríamos
para arrancarla de su lontananza
y no habría que jurar
hasta que la muerte nos separe
ya que sería inmortal por antonomasia
y en vez de transmitirnos sida o pánico
nos contagiaría su inmortalidad.
Si Dios fuera mujer no se instalaría
lejana en el reino de los cielos,
sino que nos aguardaría en el zaguán del infierno,
con sus brazos no cerrados,
su rosa no de plástico
y su amor no de ángeles.
Ay Dios mío, Dios mío
si hasta siempre y desde siempre
fueras una mujer
qué lindo escándalo sería,
qué venturosa, espléndida, imposible,
If God Were a Woman
“...and if God were a woman?”
And if God were a woman?
Juan asks without batting an eye
Ok, Ok, if God were a woman
its possible that us agnostics and atheists
wouldn’t say no with our heads
and say yes with our guts.
Maybe we would approach her divine nudity
in order to kiss her feet not of bronze
her pubis not of stone
her breasts not of marble
her lips not of plaster.
If God were a woman, we would hug her
to pull her out of her painted background
and we wouldn’t have to swear
‘til death do us part
since she would be immortal by antonomasia
and instead of sending us AIDS or panic
she would infect us with her immortality.
If God were a woman she wouldn’t install herself
far away in the kingdom of heaven
but would wait for us in the entrance hall of hell
with her arms not crossed,
her rose not of plastic
and her love not of the angels.
Oh my God, my God
If until forever and from always
You were a woman
How nice scandal it would be
What fortunate splendid impossible