A LEOPARD AM I by Pilar Pallarés

Pilar Pallarés is considered one of the most evocative voices in contemporary Galician poetry. A Leopard Am I, published in Galician in 2011, is her fourth poetry collection and was awarded the poetry prize of the Galician-Language Writers Association. She has also published In the Dusk (1980), Seventh Solitude (1984, winner of the Esquío Prize for poetry) and Book of Devorations (1996, winner of the Galician Critics’ Prize for literary creation). She has written extensively on other Galician poets such as Rosalía de Castro (whose Galician Songs is published by Small Stations Press), Luís Pimentel and Ricardo Carvalho Calero. This is her first collection to appear in English.


You’re right: it was strange to envision this city
from your city
(but I dodge pronouns
and I know possession doesn’t exist:
that light isn’t yours either,
this isn’t my rain
that brings down papier-mâché façades
with its felt breath.
A steep street falls from Sunday skies,
snapping off angel arms from a child’s grave
in Bonaval, washing out the colours of a flag in the foothills
where I hoisted my name with
a raging line from Cesário
and a poem from Borges’ Fervor de Buenos Aires.)

The sky of the Apocalypse,
the (peripatetic)
of time.



Chrysalis of muzzled time
a sky-blown dream grows silently within you
shaping your wings
for the astonishment of light

a cache of amethysts
a cocooned waiting
you will unfold in myriads of instants
you will dance, drunk, beneath the sun

(powerful words, those of the shadow:
you will be ripped apart in some desolate hour
your light will be quenched in a dance of death
your gold dimmed)



We speak in incoherencies, so hostile and sweet.
Mask-words, neither yours nor mine.
Wall-words, gasping on the other side
like fish we’re unable to name…
our words.

But at night
my lips move once more along the mango’s scar.
It’s a sweet, golden apple in my grandparents’ orchard,
it’s childhood again.

I caress your hair with your mother’s touch
and pretend that I am she, a woman marabout,
and have powers against demons and spirits.

Never fear, my love: the skin never lies
and I prevail over the shiver of their fingertips
with mine on your waist.

I am the white leopardess
that, feigning lethargy, ransacks your lair
and shreds your sacred books to pieces.


Translated from Galician by Carys Evans-Corrales

Additional Info

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    A LEOPARD AM I by Pilar Pallarés is available for purchase through your local or online bookshop

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    ISBN: 978-954-384-018-2

    Publication Date: 24 June 2013

    Language: English

    Paperback: 60 pages

    Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm