Carlos Murciano: "A successive yearning".

A poet of wide registers, his poetic work is easily recognizable by his mastery of metrical forms, the variety of themes -among which stand out those related to his own adventure of living- and his refined, ingenious and apparently simple style, always in constant search for expression.

Carmelo Guillén-November 26, 2022-Reading time: 5 minutes

Among the long-lived Spanish poets -he turns 91 on the 21st of this month-, the name of Carlos Murciano is one of the best known of his generation, to which authors such as José Ángel Valente and José Agustín Goytisolo belong, with whom he shared the prestigious Adonáis Prize in 1954, being awarded the first of the runners-up prizes for his book Wind in the flesh.

Different are the reasons that lead him to the incomprehensible silence that, at present, weighs on his lyrical work -as on that of so many other poets-, despite being the owner of a copious production and having won many awards. Whatever the reasons may be, the poetic work of Carlos Murciano is there, in his books of short poems, many of them out of print, with poems of enormous existential power, some -for my taste the most intense- with authentic expressive findings, attentive to an inner world very rich in nuances, full of intensity and life.  

His religious poems

From the list of titles he owns, I will focus on those that best reflect his relationship with God, in whose orbit it is difficult for the poet to place himself calmly, giving rise to a tense situation that he projects throughout his vast lyrical trajectory. Those, those titles -published 47 years apart from each other- are From flesh to soul (1963) y Something trembles (2010), two furious and overwhelming collections of poems, of those that, in principle, disconcert because they respond to religious unrest and hesitant manifestations of faith where anxiety, doubt and confrontation prevail, although both deliveries also contain happy, luminous, serene poems, although they are the fewest.

An opinion that, without covering those almost five decades, was already expressed in 1965 by Luis López Anglada in his Spanish poetic panoramawhen he affirms of the poetry of our author: "A deep sadness covers these verses written with thoughtful eagerness. If it were not for the author's strong religious personality, we could think of a skepticism that leads him to an attitude of existential doubt", quote in which I would substitute the expression "deep sadness" for the word "melancholy", which more accurately describes a permanent vital attitude. 

Relentless search

From flesh to soul contains twenty-two poems. None of them is superfluous and all of them complement each other to show an experience based on the presentation of expressions or gestures of Jesus Christ contained in the Gospels, but changed as a literary game -for example "My kingdom is of this world." that the poet applies to himself and in emphatic challenges to God the creator of man: "Things clear, God, things clear." axes on which, above all, the book of poems is based.

At the same time, one discovers some other composition where the distortion of events, also evangelical, such as the resurrection of Lazarus - in the poem, he prefers to stay dead, stinking after four days, rather than resurrect - or that of the poet himself getting into the skin of the apostle Thomas -Let me be God for a moment [...], let me be Thomas and plunge your finger, / My Lord and my God, in my side".- respond to the inner struggle of the poet with his Creator. Finally, it is noticed that the dichotomy flesh-soul is the argumentative key that tensions and gives unity to the set of poems, reaching in the last of them, the one titled God foundThe most joyful and illuminating moment of the book, in the form of an intoxicating presence of the divinity. The composition -a splendid literary jewel written in serventese- is a celebration of the presence of God in ordinary life. Here are a few stanzas: "God is here, on this table of mine / so jumbled up with dreams and papers [...].. / God is here. Or there, on the carpet, / in the simple hollow of the pillow; and the great thing is that it scarcely astonishes me / to look at him to share my dawn / I turn on the light and God lights up; I touch / the chair and touch God; my dictionary / bursts open in GodIf I keep quiet a little / I hear God playing in the closet. [...] Today I found God in this room / high and old where I live. I did / to save, by writing, the distance / and it overflowed me in what I was writing / And here it continues: so close, that I burn / that I wet my hands with its foam; so close that I finish, because I fear / to be hurting him with my pen". This is one of his most beautiful and celebrated poems in anthologies. It is collected by Ernestina de Champourcin in her most emblematic compilation: God in today's poetry1970, published by the BAC.

Translate, God

Forty-seven years after the preceding book, Carlos Murciano edits Carlos Murciano Something trembleshis other great volume of religious character in which he includes a sonnet-synthesis of his way of dealing with God, which does not entail any novelty with respect to his previous thought. He entitles it Friend God. In it he writes: "...] I demand / a word, an answer. I knock at your door, and you give me nones and evens. / You place stones that disturb my walks / and make me stumble at every turn. / But I know very well that you are the master / and I follow you, despite the sorrows. / I only ask you for a gesture, a gesture, / something from you. To love you, God, is this? / To fight with myself and defeat me? / Go, fill me now this emptiness / with your word, and become my friend [...]". The one who makes a claim, knocks at the door, is disturbed, stumbles, considers himself a vassal of God (his master) and proposes that he be his friend is the same poet who, on some occasions, sings to the unknown God who inhabits him, as he also expresses in another demanding text of the same book: "Thou / who can all things, / why dost thou not kindle within / me / the light of knowing / thee? / To what doubt, / if thou affirmest, firm, "I am?" / For thou dost, they say, / but / in thy tongue, / which I never heard. / And thy interpreter knows / that he knows not. Translate / you"

That he translate himself! is what, in the end, he demands of God, that he make himself visible, clairvoyant, a presence through the senses as he allows himself to be seen, touched and heard in the poem God found -as if the Person of the Son, proceeding from the Father, had not assumed human nature by the power of the Holy Spirit, conforming himself to his image. This idea can also be seen in another composition, Absent Godwhere he states: "It's hard to believe that [the Son] was divine."This explains why, for the poet, the Person of God the Son -whom he approaches in a diffuse way in these poems, without denying it- is not that of God the Father. He states it clearly: "Hard to believe he was divine." surprisingly neo-Arian approach at this point in the centuries. Moreover, the poet adds: "Don't send us to Another, come yourself."proposes to God.

In the same tone is Grandfather Godanother text by Something trembleswhere he presents the figure of an old God the Father with a white beard to whom he always addresses himself, as if He alone -a humanized God the Father- were his only concern, "his God" free from the other divine Persons, a thought that Murciano confirms in his verses, this being his most intimate existential truth, generated in "a successive craving" -as he expresses in a poem - to make it perceptible, to his measure.

There is no more -nor less-: the religious world of Carlos Murciano, the one perceived in his verses, is like this, vacillating, halfway between doubt and the acceptance of God as a possibility of belief, full of uncertainties, personal and implacable.

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