Wedding Photo: September 8, 1954 by Eric Paul Shaffer

Photo by Bernardo García
Photo by Bernardo García

South Ruislip, England

Smiling on the church sidewalk,
my parents pose for posterity,
he slender and grinning, like a brat

from West Virginia, his hands firm
on her waist as she enters the taxi,

she, in a trim, sensible, white gown,
a prudent bouquet, and a modest
lace veil tucked behind her.  I stare

into the pale, pure square that borders
their black-and-white beginnings,

her hidden foot raised for a small step
into eternity, that boxy, black cab,
the driver invisible within,

only he ready, poised for the future,
the wheel gripped in his fists,

in a vehicle that will carry them here
into my hands, now, before my eyes,
one moment cropped from the rest

when their happiness was perfect,
fixed in that last, immaculate instant

of possibility, with promises made,
yet unpaid, on a glad, gray day before
the same blank box framed me, too.

 

South Ruislip, Inglaterra

Sonriendo en la acera de la iglesia,
mis padres posan para la posteridad,
El delgado y sonriendo, como un palo de golf

de West Virginia, con sus firmes manos
en su cintura mientras ella entra en el taxi,

ella, en un esbelto, sensible, vestido blanco,
un ramo prudente, y un modesto
velo de encaje escondida atrás de ella. Yo la miro

en el pálido, cuadrado puro que bordea
sus inicios en blanco y negro,

su pie oculto levantado hacia un pequeño paso
a la eternidad, esa forma de caja, taxi negro,
el conductor invisible dentro,

sólo él dispuesto, preparado para el futuro,
la rueda agarrada en sus puños,

en un vehículo que los llevará aquí
a mis manos, ahora, ante mis ojos,
un momento recortado del resto

cuando su felicidad era perfecto,
fijado en ese último instante, inmaculado

de la posibilidad, con promesas hechas,
sin embargo, no remunerado, en un día alegre y gris antes de que
el mismo cuadro en blanco me enmarcara a mí también.

Traducido por: Gabriel Setright


A Million-Dollar Bill, Eric Paul Shaffer’s sixth book of poetry, was published on August 1 by Grayson Books.  Other books include Lāhaina Noon; Portable Planet; and Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen.  His poems appear in Slate, American Scholar, North American Review, The Sun Magazine, and Threepenny Review; Australia’s Going Down Swinging, Island, and Quadrant; Canada’s Antigonish Review, CV2, Dalhousie Review, Event, and The Fiddlehead; Ireland’s Poetry Ireland Review and Southword Journal; England’s Iota, Magma, and The Stand Magazine; and New Zealand’s Poetry NZ and Takahe.
A Million-Dollar Bill, Eric Paul Shaffer’s sixth book of poetry, was published on August 1 by Grayson Books.  Other books include Lāhaina Noon; Portable Planet; and Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen.  His poems appear in Slate, American Scholar, North American Review, The Sun Magazine, and Threepenny Review; Australia’s Going Down Swinging, Island, and Quadrant; Canada’s Antigonish Review, CV2, Dalhousie Review, Event, and The Fiddlehead; Ireland’s Poetry Ireland Review and Southword Journal; England’s Iota, Magma, and The Stand Magazine; and New Zealand’s Poetry NZ and Takahe.

2 thoughts on “Wedding Photo: September 8, 1954 by Eric Paul Shaffer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s