Tuesday, September 30, 2014


As I periodically do, I'm fiddling with translating a poem. This time it's a poem I'm not really crazy about, but was struck by, by Federico Garcia Lorca. Here's the Spanish. Here's one English translation. I haven't found an English translation that makes much attempt to catch the music of the Spanish, so that is what I'm fiddling with. Of course, "Poetry is what gets lost in translation".

Anyway, here's the first draft. The full poem in Spanish is a sonnet, 14 lines, rhymed abba abba cdc dcd. Whereas this is abab cdcd efe fef. And there are things in this that are not in the original:

Night rose above us both, a full moon shining.
I began to cry. Your fond disdain
Burst into godly laughter. All my whining
Was doves and moments wrapped into a chain.

Night fell below us both. Crystal of sadness,
You wept for depths from some forgotten land.
My sorrow was a wash of hurtful madness,
Over your weak but beating heart of sand.

Dawn's light united us upon the bed,
Our mouths joined numbly on the frozen stream
Of blood which neverendingly is shed.

The sun sneaked through the balcony, a beam,
A branch of coral stretched out to redeem
My shrouded heart, my bowed and sullen head.

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