Friday, June 15, 2007

R A M O N      T E      K I E R O

Hello, I'm back. Proper composition to resume very soon. In the mean time, here are some versions of poems from the Rimas of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870).


    VIII

    When I stare at the blue horizon
    vanishing in the distance
    behind a veil of dust
    golden and troubled
    I think I can break away
    from the wretched earth
    and fly with the golden haze
    as slight atoms
    dispersed and unmade

    When I stare into the night in the dark
    depths of the sky
    and the stars trembling like ardent
    pupils of fire
    I think I can get there
    rocketing to where they shine
    and flood myself in their light with them
    in brilliance burning
    blend in one kiss

    In the sea of doubt where I sail
    I don't even know what I believe in
    still these yearnings say to me
    that I carry something
    divine here within


    XI

    "I am ardent, I am dark,
    I am the essence of passion;
    with yearning for pleasure, my soul is full;
    is it me you're seeking?"
                    "No, it isn't you."

    "My bent head is pale, my plaits golden,
    I can rain on you sweet thoughts without end;
    of tenderness, I have a treasury;
    is it me you're seeking?"
                    "No, it isn't you."

    "I am a delusion, an impossible,
    a vain phantom of mist and light;
    I am unbodied, I am impalpable;
    I cannot love you."

                    "Oh come, come you...!"


    XXIX

    La bocca mi bacciò tutto tremante

    On her skirt she held
            the book open;
    against my cheek flickered
            her black curls,
    we did not see the letters
            at all, I think;
    however we maintained
            a deep silence.
    For how long? Not even then
            could I have said.
    I only know nothing was heard
            but our breath
    which mounting escaped
            from dry lips.
    I only know we turned
            both in one movement
    and our eyes found each other
            and there sounded, a kiss.

    *

    Dante's creation, the book was;
            it was his Inferno.
    When we lowered our eyes to it
            I said shakily:
    Do you know, a poem can
            subsist in a single line?

    and she replied, glowing:
            I do now!


    XXX

    lay gleaming in her eyes a tear,
    and on my lips a phrase of pardon.
    Pride came... - dried it up at source.
    - and the phrase on my lips, died away.

    I go by one road, she by another;
    but to think of our mutual passion
    I still say: Why the hell did I keep quiet?
    and she'll say: Why didn't I weep for him?


    XLI

    You were the total storm, and I the high
            tower that defied it.
    Either you blew yourself out, or else you demolished me...
                It could not be!

    You were the ocean, and I the lofty
            rock that wouldn't be rocked.
    Either you broke on me or else you ripped me out...
                It could not be!

    You were gorgeous and I was haughty; accustomed
            the one to sweep away, the other to stand fast;
    narrow the field, inevitable the shock...
                It could not be!


    XLII

    When they told me, it felt like ice
    like a steel blade in the guts.
    I leant to the wall and, for that moment,
    had no idea where I was.

    Night fell on my mind.
    Rage and piety drowned out my soul.
    I understood then why it sobs, the night,
    I understood then why it destroys itself.

    The cloud of pain went by.... painfully
    I managed to stammer forth a few words.
    Who brought me this news? A real friend...
    and he did me a good turn. I thanked him.

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