Fortunately for English-language readers, Joan Margarit's poems are getting easier to find. Tugs in the Fog (Bloodaxe), translated by Anna Crowe, is a great introduction: and Barcelona publisher Proa has also produced his Barcelona Amor Final in Catalan, Spanish and English, with black and white photographs, an evocative love song to the city.
My Ode to Barcelona
The city, wherever you go it will go.
Here I have never felt either the tenderness
of the mother-tongue or the support
of any tradition other than civil
war, just where for me the past begins.
when I have searched penniless
for her dubious warmth she didn't even look at me.
I fell in love with her when I was young,
but now we know each other too well:
nor can she deceive me
when she comes out, eyes painted with twilight,
nor can I deceive her with a few poems.
If I were to go away, she'd never come with me.
And if I want to be more and more distant
there is no need anyway for me to go. But now and then,
when I least expect it, early some morning,
what terror is it makes me hear the echo
of footsteps where someone is walking away
before me down streets where there is no one.
• You can read Barcelona Amor Final (Proa, 2007) in the Scottish Poetry Library. Tel: 0131-557 2876, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org