Vertical Poetry

Among my favorite poems are two that seem to speak to my experience with Alexander Technique, though I knew nothing about AT when I discovered them. They are from a volume called Vertical Poetry, by Roberto Juarroz, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin. The first is about going up. It’s only 3 lines long, but that’s sufficient.

Going up is only

a little shorter or a little

longer than going down.

The other of Vertical Poem that seems to speak to Alexander is the following, which talks about the magical quality of hands.

Sometimes my hands wake me up,

They’re making or taking apart something without me

while I’m asleep,

something terribly human,

concrete like the back or pocket of a man.

I hear them from inside my sleep,

working out there,

but when I open my eyes they’re still.

Just the same

I’ve thought that maybe I’m a man

because of what they do

with their gestures and not mine,

with their God and not mine,

with their death, if they die too.

I don’t know how to make a man.

Maybe my hands make one while I’m asleep

and when it’s finished

they wake me up altogether

and show it to me.

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