The One Who Brings Density of Haze & Other Poems: Marifé Santiago Bolaños

The One Who Brings Density of Haze & Other Poems: Marifé Santiago Bolaños

marife-santiago-bolañosWriter Marifé Santiago Bolaños (Madrid, 1962) is a Doctor in Philosophy. As Professor of Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, her research focuses on the dialogue between philosophy and creation in art through the work of authors such as MaríaZambrano. Her studies on the encounter between Eastern and Western aesthetic principles led to the book Mirar al dios: el Teatrocomocamino de conocimiento (Looking at the God: The Theatre as a Path of Knowledge), in which she closely analyses the influence of Indian, Japanese and Chinese Philosophy in European Theatre. Additionally, she has considerable knowledge of techniques such as Yoga and Tai Chi, and has done comparative studies in music and singing. She is a member of the international university project “Writing and Image: the Europe of Writing”.

She is a member of the Trusts of the María Zambrano Foundation and the Centre for Studies on Exile.

Literary works published include TresCuadernos de Bitácora (Three Logbooks) (1996) Celebración de la espera (A Celebration of Waiting) (1999), El día, los días(The Day, the Days) (2007), La orilla de lasmujeresfértiles (The Shore of Fertile Women) (2010), poems in Galician in Poesía dos Aléns (1993); short stories in books by various authors, newspapers and magazines; and the novels El tiempo de laslluvias(The Rainy Season) (1999), Un ángelmuertosobre la hierba (An Angel Dead on the Grass) (2001), El jardín de lasfavoritasolvidadas (The Garden of Forgotten Favourites) (2005), translated into Bengali (2008), and La canción de Ruth (Ruth’s Song) (2010).

Some of her writings have been translated into English, French, Italian, Hebrew, Russian and Bengali, and included in collections such as Poetas en blanco y negro (Poets in Black and White) (2007), Escritores de Castilla y León (Writers from Castilla y León) (Junta de Castilla y León, 2006), El poder del cuerpo. Antología de la poesíafemeninacontemporánea (The Power of the Body. Anthology of Contemporary Female Poetry) (Madrid, Ediciones Castalia, 2009) and Poetas a orillas de Machado (Poets on the Shores of Machado) (Madrid, EdicionesAbada, 2010, edited by Amalia Iglesias, 2010).

In 2012, Linteo Publishing house published Cartas Inéditas de María Zambrano a Gregorio del Campo en edición de Marifé, and the digital publishing house Musa a las 9 released El País de los PequeñosPlaceres.

Captain’s constellations

In the Beginning

I bring a tear wrapped in silk paper.

I, density of haze

I bring you a word, but you have to turn off the light so that darkness can hear its voice.


We were three, like the Fates, since the beginning. Yet, who begins with the fabric? Who unwinds the hank? Will it be I who cuts the threads?


Let us give names to these images so that we can identify each other.

-I am Maria Solomón.

-You know me as the daughter of Raúl.

-Wait: my name will be perceptible from my countenance, but it is a withdrawn countenance, like the one you have while receiving a guest. On the banks of the Golden Horn, my name is Nostalgia.


We were little girls, once we were little girls. Then we became women, definitely women, so that time would extend from dream to reality. We were never lonely because we were, always, alone.


The one who brings the tear wrapped in silk paper dedicated her life to Theatre.

The one who brings density of haze, to Teaching.

The one who brings onto her fear and her secret, a word that tells to search for rooms where a man or a woman can be happy.


They were three, like the Fates, and they promised themselves without knowing in a carnous infantile solemnity to be each one for the others, a loom, a spool, a cutter of the last thread: they called this passionate promise “Friendship”.


Even when they began to hide from each other the small events of their lives, Friendship.

Even when they were separated, when they could not be recognized on the street, Friendship.

Even when they avoided each other, when they began to be uncomfortable with each other, when they did not receive the telephone although nothing would have been more necessary, Friendship.


The One Who Brings Density of Haze

By default, she has an attitude towards life: she no longer remembers the world without the diffuse trail of her eyes.

Like this:

Drop in the surface of the Duerna

No: this river is not of water, but of memories.

And the memories smear the view of the poets.

Appeal, if the image seems sufficient to you, to your mother’s hands cooled by the river

Because the fluid will dyes the skin in the colour of mulberries.

Learn that they are not mulberries: it is the fruit of the elder tree.

Your mother, a foreigner to these waters, washes the children’s clothes:

There is a certain wonder and betrayal in this giving away to the river of footmarks of your games,

But the rules of loyalty are not easy to understand.

You think:

Where do the laughter and the pain go that stain your clothes?

Your mother repeats to you that they are not mulberries:

You look at her fingers, deformed by the speed of the water.


Don’t be afraid:it’s all about summer: in the end, every tie will be a tribute offered to the mountain. Maintaining its sanctity demands being a beggar of customs, but the river is anterior and remote.


In reality- I have already told you- it is not water, but a page: and you are still a very small, or already a very old one, enough for reading fluid books.

Note, if you dare, in the silence that contains your eternity. Focus on your heart


When you hurl stones from the bridge and fling some name so that the river takes it very far away.

Listen to it


Listen to it


In the Duerna, after drinking adolescence and later with the anxiety and the surprise with which you drank,

For the first time, solitude and joy.

Listen to the rumour of the conscience. It grows, rises like bread when fermented: are you going to eat it? Are you going to look at your mother’s hands washing the ruins?


The shadow of the poplar crackled when you move the branch so that the river washes, also, the yellow reflections of the sun.

The wind decomposes the order of your book of water. And you already know that the dawn hid the treasures in the womb of this earth. If they call it “gold” instead of “blood”, you will neither know the responsibility that the river has in the solar journey.

But you listen to the light and ensure that you evoke an old friendship.

Would you be able to, after, invent the moment in which the destiny of your ancestors appearedsubsumed?

Ghosts without distance, without a comma for breathing, without an interrogation which enables them to ask questions, without any of those strange signs that make our eyebrows arch when we read a sentence wrapped with their power.

Inventing is not the same as lying, and do not lie if you accept the risk of flying among those majestic birds that scatter in Maragatería* and further beyond the basin of the Duerna: certain rivers wash the horizon and question the existence ofborders.


But, are you capable of showing the sea that your river is doomed? Suicide of the rivers?

(What an unsettling expression: do not write it)


Because dignity attunes itself to the banks, adapts itself to the geographies that the Duerna waters baptize. On the contrary, the man and the woman who abandoned such fragile territory dried up like the river that doubts and makes you cry.On the contrary, all the rivers where you held your myopic eyes would not have eulogised him.


But, please avoid the mediocrity of the comparisons. Ignore the peculiarities of the river. Do not allow elusive texts nor exceed accounting for flowers and fishes: you have already mentioned

The elder tree

The poplars

The mulberries: leave it now;

May the forgotten friends, some game and the discipline of the age use up your time.

­­­­­­­­­­­­Hand it over- you had promised it- density of the haze or your words confuse themselves with a melancholy that does not belong to them.


Okay, will you confess that the memory asleep in these waters scares you? That its song drowns you (awake)?

It is the abandonment of not being able to return to the same river twice according to the unappealable sentence of a dark sage.


And yet, the Duerna, fertile and generous like the girlfriends of the Jewish legend, keeps illuminatingthe Lamp of Paradise in the penumbra of your heart.

Your tongue still remembers the taste of your body:

Your lips would burn,

And you would thank water for quenching the thirst.


Now be quiet.

Now listen to the boat,

Where for you, wait the


With concave hands:

They offer you their space

So that you fill it with your


And a poem, perhaps.



Maybe the river banks, the altitudes or the dawns unveil the secret of that maximum experience that is Man for they are a threshold. And thresholds- of matter, of light or of desire are impious­­­ with all the evidence.

So, the bank, the altitude or the dawn reabsorb the barrier of the bodies (design of Life) that revolve in the dearth of forms defying that which is vast to exist. And it is just that the borders- oh, the irony of the vocations! – guard an infinite Other.

For this reason you would say: “in the sea, the weight of the dreams equals to a glow; time, to the startling imminence of Autumn

Or of words




“Oh, the ray that banished the gods!”- you would say. Oh,­­­­­­the beginning of the shore.



First was­­­­­­­­­the minute details of daily life demanding a part in the drama- the smile that vanquishes the dream, the school, the homework to be done, the bookmark in a book whose ending we will ignore. Also- the birthday present chosen with delicacy or the telephone call that forbade the birth of poppies.

Because only oblivion lacks a place; and Achilles will return to kill with fury and pain the Trojan Hector, in spite of the times, and will end crying embracing the noble Priam: the body learns that if the insignificant covers cosmic dimensions, the Lethe dries up.

It was heard, although it was the dogs that responded with the barking, filling the morning with clumsy old predictions: “it is suffering that inspires the song”, they said. Also, that a war is a combat that brings about tears.

They barked, yes, but they should have done it a moment before, when the mother was giving a goodbye kiss to her daughter, when the spilt coffee would have been a valid reason for missing the train.


Only oblivion lacks a place.But here, there is no oblivion.


There is a need to write it, therefore, so that the ink, with precision, draws this geography where the ignited altars are hundreds, where the dead are hundreds, where the ashes do not let the brain breathe and the thinking is clouded and tarnished, where the rain rots these seeds and the gardens have become cemeteries.


Only oblivion lacks a place.

But here, there is no oblivion.


Ah! World, world, world: you demand too many eyes for blind troubadours!

About author

Garima Pant
Garima Pant 1 posts

Garima Pant (New Delhi, 1990) is a master in English and a student of advanced Spanish at Instituto Cervantes, Nueva Delhi. She is a literature enthusiast who holds special interest in the Spanish speaking world. Currently she is pursuing a pre doctorate in Latin American studies from New Delhi, India.

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