Thursday, November 8, 2012

Odes to Opposites, by Pablo Neruda

...Go ahead, get going,
give your heart a rest.
Go ahead and sing your song.

I'm still the same, aren't I? The one
who knows the river
by the way its water flows?

All I know is this: in that very place
my heart has been knocking
at a single
door,
knocking since yesterday, from afar,
since long ago,
since my birth --

that place where the dark echo
of the singing
sea
answers, and I sing,
an echo
I only
know
by its blind hissing,
by lightning
striking the waves,
by waves' thick froth in the night.

And so, time,
you've sized me up in vain.
In vain have you hurried
to stay a step ahead
of this wanderer...

[From Ode to future time (Oda al tiempo venidero)]

Go ahead and sing your song (desarrolla tu canto.).

In Odes to Opposites, translations of Neruda's odes are printed on the page opposite his Spanish originals. Reading both can be very helpful for students of Spanish. I especially recommend Pablo Neruda for this, because he writes simply, without a lot of flowery, hard-to-understand language.

The translator, Ken Krabbenhoft, does an admirable job.

I wish, when I was studying French, that I'd had a bilingual book that would have helped me understand the surrealist and dada poets Mademoiselle Cash had us reading!


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1 comment:

Debra said...

This is one of my favorite volumes of poetry. I got this edition as a gift when I was in high school, and I loved trying to read the Spanish aloud, even though I also studied French (we read Petit Nicholas, though, no Rimbaud and company).