Dear Sor Juana,
As the sun set on 2014 I glimpsed kangaroos in the prayer paddock of a Buddhist Monastery, brown steers with stealth like qualities slowing moved closer to our New Year’s Eve bubbles and oyster infused soiree. The year closed in good company where all of creation celebrated and as night wore on in the distance fireworks heralded new beginnings. Just as each morning offers a new beginning, this day dawned, opening into a new year.
An opening is what happens when what was hidden or inaccessible now becomes visible and unites with the surroundings. Opening a jar of homemade pickles releases smells, love and tastes from across the nation, no longer locked up ready to be consumed by other members of the family. Opening a bottle of wine frees gifts of the earth, the grapes and the winemaker. Opening a new year liberates incubated dreams and brings the promise of fulfilment over the months ahead.
So I open up to you Sor Juana and find that when I loosen the lid on your life, poetry and scholarship, I am treated to old ideas and new, as this is the first blog post for the year, I wanted to share an extract from your first published poem – First Dream. The first dreams of a new year are wrapped in the promise of resolutions and resolve, often quickly abandoned when distracted by old habits or a lack of discipline. I will write to you each week Sor Juana as I have written to Hildegard and Biddy Early before you, trusting this practice is a never ending series of openings that keep me awake, uniting the visible and invisible.
(extract) Primer Sueño (First Dream)
Finally, Dusk could see, at last
a vision of the fugitive pass,
and — with her zeal on the mend
from ruin forces a second wind–
and she, in that half globe where the Sun
withdrew the sheltering garrison
rebelling again, makes up her mind
to sieze the crown a second time,
while in our hemisphere a skein
of golden Sunlight shines again,
and with its fair judicious light
distributes equally and shares
with all things visible their hues,
and with this restoration makes
the exterior senses operate
more certainly, as daylight breaks
on the illumined World and I – awake.
translated by Elwin Wirkala