prosa on verso/verso on prosa

So what is the connection between prosody and prose? In terms of etymology, apparently none at all. Prose comes from Latin prosa (straightforward), usually coupled with oratio (discourse); an earlier form of the word is prorus (direct). So, plain speaking. Prosody is from Latin prosodia (accent), derived from Greek pros(oidia), in other words, towards an ode. No real convergence of meaning there. If you look up poetry and fiction, however, you do find a common thread. Fiction is from fictio, to fashion, while poetry, as everyone knows, has its root in a Greek word for maker. Fictio survives in another word, fictile, meaning made of earth or clay by a potter. Could non-fiction then be taken to mean not made?

Meanwhile I've been searching the Complete Posthumous Poems of César Vallejo for a line I remembered last night ... it comes from a poem he wrote foretelling his own death, the great Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca, which is worth quoting in full:

Me moriré en Paris con aguacero,
un día del cual tengo ya el recuerdo.
Me moriré en Paris—y no me corro—
tal vez un jueves, como es hoy, de otoño.

Jueves será, porque hoy, jueves, que proso
estos versos, los húmeros me he puesto
a la mala y, jamás como hoy me he vuelto
con todo mi camino, a verme solo.

César Vallejo ha muerto, le pegaban
todos sin que él les haga nada;
le daban duro con un palo y duro

también con una soga; son testigos
los días jueves y los huesos húmeros,
la soledad, la lluvia, los caminos ...

This is a much translated poem but the only version in which the line I remembered appears is that by Clayton Eshleman and José Rubia Barcia:

Black Stone On a White Stone

I will die in Paris with a sudden shower
on a day I can already remember.
I will die in Paris—and I don't budge—
maybe a Thursday, like today is, in autumn.

Thursday it will be, because today, Thursday, when I prose
these poems, the humeri I have put on
by force and, never like today, have I turned,
with all my road, to see myself alone.

César Vallejo has died, they beat him
everyone, without him doing anything to them;
they gave it to him hard with a stick and hard

also with a rope; witnesses are
the Thursdays days and the humerus bones,
the loneliness, the rain, the roads . . .

He wrote this in 1929 I think; and died on April 15th, 1938, in Paris, just as the Fascist army swept down the Ebro valley to the Mediterranean, cutting Loyalist Spain in half. His last words, spoken in delirium, were I am going to Spain! I want to go to Spain! Although he had fallen into unconsciousness the day before, the 14th, a Thursday, the 15th was in fact Good Friday: not autumn in that latitude, but spring. And I do not know if it was raining. Not that it matters particularly.

I also found these lines, which I like a lot, from Guitarra:

Vales más que mi número, hombre solo,
y valen más que todo el diccionario,
con su prosa en verso,
con su verso en prosa,
tu función águila,
tu mecanismo tigre, blando prójimo ...

which might be rendered:

You are worthier than my number, man alone,
and worthier than all the dictionary
with its prose in poetry
with its poetry in prose
your eagle function,
your tiger mechanism, bland fellow man ...

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