Daniel Cotta, from the luminary of a living faith

One of the most powerful and personal young voices of Spanish religious poetry is that of Daniel Cotta, who in a couple of poetic deliveries has managed to make of his lyrical creation a place of enthusiasm, of daily celebration and of inescapable encounter with God. 

Carmelo Guillén-December 15, 2021-Reading time: 5 minutes
Daniel Cotta.

I am not surprised by the lucidity with which Daniel Cotta's poems unfold when, in his twenties, he started to write a Stations of the Cross-and later, following in the footsteps of Miguel Hernández, he emulated Calderón de la Barca with a splendid (and as yet unpublished) auto sacramental entitled EffetáCotta's poems, naturally in the manner of those of the Golden Age and within the strict measures demanded by the lopesque art of making comedies, although his subject matter is more appropriate for today's man. Cotta's poetry does not cease to be, by its construction, of vivid classical roots, like that of the poets of the first post-war period (Leopoldo Panero, José María Valverde...), but, above all, open to the joyful manifestation of the creator God and father of his creatures, to whom he sings from the luminary of his living faith.

Poetic journey

First it was God in a half-voicea very beautiful collection of poems of intense theological maturity with which he won a recently inaugurated prize for mystical poetry: the Albacara, of Caravaca de la Cruz (Murcia). LightingThe book, published in the Adonáis collection, is a proof of the great poet that he is, conformed to the measure of the most demanding poetic activity, master of any metrical stanza that comes his way, surprisingly modern in his literary imagery -not to say original and very current-, and aware that poetry is a daily conversation in verse with God. It is from them that this cosmos emerges in which God is unveiling, closeness and continuous and joyful singing. 

For those who are able to write "Lord, I'm not living / I'm unwrapping your gift."In his poetry, reality itself becomes the natural and joyful frame for those who want to be at the height of what is revealed to them in their own daily routine. Thus, from an all-encompassing gaze, born of astonishment, rapture and the music of words, his poetry is enunciated as a hymn to the Creator God of the Universe, the one to whom Fray Luis de León sang in his ode VIII ("When I contemplate the sky / of countless lights adorned...")For the whole group of stars and tiny beings that make up the orb give reason that the plectrum, as the Augustinian would say in another ode, is wisely waved by the omnipotent hand of its Maker. For Cotta, everything speaks of Him: "But you exist. The day has told me so.". [...] The flamboyant gothic testifies, / The Iliad assures it, / The Ninth Symphony acclaims it, / And the Suez Canal, / [...] All these, Lord, have told me, / Isn't it time I told you?

Poetry as an act of love  

And that is his lyrical testimony: to proclaim the greatness of God, his goodness and his image reflected in creatures. Cotta himself, from his own vital reality, discovers himself to be "the proof / truthful and irrefutable". of the existence of God, who created him out of love. In a fresh, witty and visual language, he writes: "My life is an Einstein formula, / The irrefutable proof of your love / That this jumble of selfishness and tedium / Today sings of your goodness, is it not your doing / Is it not your gift that I love you / And is it but a miracle this poem, which is but answering your call?"

Love pays with love, as the saying goes. And that is what Cotta tries to do, who invokes God as Lord of the firmament, who treats him as a son to his Father or as a freedman to his Savior. Always, of course, without losing the touch of the Holy Scriptures (Genesis in particular) and the concrete impulse of the Gospels, whose references are the starting point of many poems. Suffice it as a sample of the poem entitled Gabriel's self-absorption, in which we have the impression that we are witnessing the second part of the famous painting by Fra Angelico, The Annunciationwhere the archangel himself shows his joy not only for being the messenger sent by God to announce his embassy to Mary, but also for bringing to God himself the "yes" expected from the maiden of Nazareth. Composition that ends like this: "and with the jubilation / nervous of upside-down lightning / soared the sky until he reached the throne / of God, opened his palms and one syllable / flew to the Lord with my embassy: 'Yes'".

Existential lyric  

Cotta's poetry is so vital and lively; at all times full of confidence, colloquialisms and even a healthy sense of humor, which he resolves through surprising reasoning: "This is my plan: when I am in Heaven, / I will take God aside / and say to Him: -All right, Lord, You said / that here we would be just like angels, that there would no longer be men and women, / but I have to remind You / that Susanna and I are (because You made it) one flesh. / So You will say...". A poetry in which there is also room for pain: "Don't throw away that tear / [...] / The cry will ripen you inside / [...] / Keep it, don't throw anything away / Otherwise, when I embrace you, / What tears will the Father wipe away?". A theme, this one of pain, which he treats with depth and in a sublime way in the last poems of God in a half-voice: "This pain that was born so black to me / Has become a white, ringed star / Orbits around your existence / And has at its equator the thirst for You.".

Constant Psalmody

Like few current lyrical trajectories, his radiates calm, admiration, gratitude, proximity to God, to whom we do not sing only because he lives where the stars shine, but because he is an accessible being, he seeks us and dwells within us: "You know, my God? I imagined you outside, / never inside. / I thought you were contemplating the Cosmos / and that you held it in your palms / like a snowy crystal ball. / How wrong! Where you are is inside [...] / Inside inside inside. / You've wrapped yourself in the whole Universe, / and to see you, I must strip it away, / peel away petals and layers, / and see the light grow, see the heat / that you emanate from the core, / and feel my hands / grow hotter and hotter / without burning [...]". Poetry or constant psalmody, which bursts forth as a hymn to the month of April: "April has unleashed madness [...] And in every spring, in every nest / You are pouring, God, spring / April, from you has brought it."that stops at the chirping of a nightingale: "Close your eyes and listen only / How he saves the night / God singing hidden in the bower.".

In short, transgressive poetry for this time, of enormous breath and fervor, full of poetic, but also theological successes, which does not decline in lyrical and suggestive intensity: "To make me, Lord, / You drew inspiration from Yourself / You looked within / And took out the God / And clothed me / [...] I, Lord, / Am made of You / Let us make the Universe together!". Certainly, poetry that is worth stopping and recommending to revive the hopeful sense of human existence.

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