Reading: I never sought the glory by Antonio Machado

The Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939) is among the most important of the twentieth century. I read a short poem entitled ‘I never sought the glory’ in a translation by Katie King:

I Never Sought the Glory
I never sought the glory
nor to leave in memory
of men my song;
I love subtle worlds,
Weightless and graceful
like bubbles of soap.
I like to see them painted
In sunlight and scarlet, wafting
under the blue sky, trembling
suddenly and pop.

I like this imagery and the attitude it presumably illustrates. Of course, here is a song that we must assume he did want to leave in memory of men, because he published it – here we go again.

Perhaps the poet changed his mind and now he wants to be remembered? Remembered, but not glorified. There are no heavy crowd applauding their icon in a weightless world. The graceful soapbubbleworlds are worlds-within-worlds, or: memories. And so the poem can be interpreted with autoreferential consistency applied to itself. This poem reminds us of the subtle worlds that tremble and pop, by trembling and popping itself.

The original Spanish was followed carefully here, no surprises.

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