mercredi 27 août 2008

+ DURRELL y ALEJANDRÍA

***

Si hay alguien que ha establecido una relación erótica con una ciudad y la ha hecho verdadera protagonista de su novela, ése ha sido Durrell. La ciudad: Alejandría. Fue fundada hace más de veinticuatro siglos por Alejandro Magno.

Escritor británico que desarrolló misiones diplomáticas en Grecia, Chipre y Egipto, es bien conocido por su obra más popular, El cuarteto de Alejandría, compuesta por cuatro novelas: Justine, Baltazhar, Mountolive y Clea. La trama se lleva a cabo en Alejandría antes y después de la II guerra mundial, con localizaciones exóticas de la ciudad y sus alrededores. Los personajes de esta tetralogía no tendrían sentido fuera de Alejandría, tierra melancólica y calurosa, ciudad de cafés y minaretes, encuentro de culturas milenarias, evocadora del centro del saber en la antigüedad.

Alejandría y Durrell. Lawrence Durrell y la ciudad de Alejandría.

En esencia, ¿qué es esa ciudad, la nuestra? ¿Qué resume la palabra Alejandría? Evoco enseguida innumerables calles donde se arremolina el polvo. Hoy es de las moscas y los mendigos, y entre ambas especies de todos aquellos que llevan una existencia vicaria.

Cinco razas, cinco lenguas, una docena de religiones; el reflejo de cinco flotas en el agua grasienta, más allá de la escollera. Pero hay más de cinco sexos y sólo el griego del pueblo parece capaz de distinguirlos. La mercadería sexual al alcance de la mano es desconcertante por su variedad y profusión. Es imposible confundir a Alejandría con un lugar placentero. Los amantes simbólicos del mundo helénico son sustituidos por algo distinto, algo sutilmente andrógino, vuelto sobre sí mismo. Oriente no puede disfrutar de la dulce anarquía del cuerpo, pero ha ido más allá del cuerpo. Nessim dijo una vez, recuerdo —y creo que lo había leído en alguna parte—, que Alejandría es el más grande lagar del amor; escapan de él los enfermos, los solitarios, los profetas, es decir, todos los que han sido profundamente heridos en su sexo.
(Justine).

En las páginas de Justine asistimos de forma permanente a la exaltación del amor por la ciudad, a la que dedica el escritor piropos como si de una bella mujer se tratase:

Notas para un paisaje… Largas modulaciones de color. Luz que se filtra a través de la esencia de los limones. Polvo amarillo suspendido en el aire fragante, y el color del pavimento caliente recién regado. Nubes livianas, al ras del suelo, que sin embargo rara vez traen lluvia. Sobre ese fondo se proyectan rojos y verdes polvorientos, malva pastel y un carmesí profundo y diluido. En verano la humedad del mar da una leve pátina al aire. Todo parece cubierto por un manto de goma.

Y luego, en otoño, el aire seco y vibrante, cargado de áspera electricidad estática, que inflama el cuerpo bajo la ropa liviana. La carne despierta, siente los barrotes de su prisión.

Y continúa:

En la gran calma de esas tardes de invierno hay un reloj: el mar. Su palpitación confusa que se prolonga en la mente es la fuga sobre la cual se compone este relato. Vacías cadencias de las olas que lamen sus propias heridas, hoscas en las bocas del delta, bullentes en las playas desiertas, vacías, eternamente vacías bajo el vuelo de las gaviotas: garabatos blancos sobre el gris, masticados por las nubes. Si una vela se acerca hasta aquí, muere antes de que la tierra la cubra con su sombra. ¡Despojos barridos hasta los frontones de las islas, último vestigio carcomido por la intemperie, plantado en la vejiga azul del agua… desaparecido!

Las referencias a la ciudad son tan permanentes en la tetralogía —véanse los dos pequeños párrafos de otras obras que siguen— que no desmerecen en absoluto si leemos versos que el poeta griego Constantinos P. Cavafis, nacido en Alejandría, dedica a la ciudad y que Durrell se permite traducir y transcribir al término de su novela Justine, que figuran al final de este artículo:

En el momento de hundirme en el sueño, oí la voz de mi amigo que me repetía: «¿Qué es lo que le interesa saber?? ¿qué más le interesa saber?». «Tengo que saberlo todo para liberarme por fin de la ciudad», respondí en mi sueño. (Baltazhar).

…una ciudad se convierte en un mundo cuando se ama a uno de sus habitantes. Toda una nueva geografía de Alejandría había nacido a través de Clea, recreando sus antiguos significados, renovando atmósferas semiolvidadas, arrastrando el aluvión multicolor de una nueva historia, una nueva biografía. Recuerdos de viejos cafés a lo largo de la costa en los bronceados plenilunios, los toldos rayados flotando en la brisa marina de la medianoche. Cenas tardías, la luna rielando nuestras copas. A la sombra de un minarete o en alguna franja de arena a la luz trémula de una lámpara de parafina... (Clea).

La ciudad (Cavafis)

Te dices: Me marcharé
a otra tierra, a otro mar,
a una ciudad mucho más bella de lo que ésta
pudo ser o anhelar…
Esta ciudad donde cada paso aprieta el nudo corredizo,
un corazón en un cuerpo enterrado y polvoriento.
¿Cuánto tiempo tendré que quedarme,
confinado en estos tristes arrabales
del pensamiento más vulgar? Dondequiera
que mire
se alzan las negras ruinas de mi vida.
Cuántos años he pasado aquí
derrochando, tirando, sin beneficio alguno…
No hay tierra nueva, amigo, ni mar nuevo,
pues la ciudad te seguirá.
Por las mismas calles andarás
interminablemente,
los mismos suburbios mentales van
de la juventud a la vejez,
y en la misma casa acabarás lleno de canas...
La ciudad es una jaula.
No hay otro lugar, siempre el mismo
puerto terreno, y no hay barco
que te arranque a ti mismo. ¡Ah!
¿No comprendes
que al arruinar tu vida entera
en este sitio, la has malogrado
en cualquier parte de este mundo?
Cuando de pronto a medianoche, oigas
pasar el tropel invisible, las voces cristalinas,
la música embriagadora de sus coros,
sabrás que la Fortuna te abandona,
que la esperanza
cae, que toda una vida de deseos
se deshace en humo. ¡Ah, no sufras
por algo que ya excede el desengaño!
Como un hombre desde hace tiempo preparado,
saluda con valor a Alejandría que se marcha.
Y no te engañes, no digas
que era un sueño, que tus oídos te confunden,
quedan las súplicas y las lamentaciones
para los cobardes,
deja volar las vanas esperanzas,
y como un hombre desde hace tiempo
preparado,
deliberadamente, con un orgullo
y una resignación
dignos de ti y de la ciudad
asómate a la ventana abierta
para beber, más allá del desengaño,
la última embriaguez de ese tropel divino,
y saluda, saluda a Alejandría que se marcha.

***

11 commentaires:

Fernando a dit…

El Cuarteto fue la primera aproximación, allá en mi adolescencia, a un tipo de literatura no ceñida a los cánones clásicos. No me entusiasmó ni me cuativó, pero sí me impactó y me sacudió las telarañas literarias de los ojos. Y también supongo que no entré en su esencia como debiera. Una cuenta pendiente más de relectura. Y van...

hombredebarro a dit…

El poema de Cavafis es uno de mis favoritos. Un enorme saludo, Antonio.

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