I chose Garcia Lorca for my first Spanish translation attempts, because of the many short poems in his oeuvre. Short poems, I thought, wouldn’t take long to translate and that would give me a sense of accomplishment. In fact, reading the poem and understanding the words has not been the problem, the difficulty has been to achieve a coherent poem in English without losing the flavor of Gracia Lorca’s exotic style. Here’s my latest attempt:
The flower of dawn is open…
Do you remember yesterday?
The moon is spouting cold dead oil…
Think back, think back to August.
I had expected to return to this blog with a number of essays on politics, but so far, I’m having trouble finishing the ones I have started. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I am trying my hand at translation again, this time of Spanish poetry. I began by reading through the Complete Works of Federico Garcia Lorca, whom I admired greatly when I first read him in college (in English). It quickly became clear that, in order to understand many of the poems, I need to brush up on the history of his time (1898 – 1935) in Spain. Most of his poems are rooted in his historical moment (he was a major political activist) and can’t be fully understood out of context. I did find one short abstract poem (Claro de Reloj) that I felt I could do a sort of justice to, as I learned this new craft.
Hanging Out with Time
In Time’s green glade,
A haven of silence,
Of pure, white silence,
An amazing ring
In which the stars collide
With twelve black numbers.
What do you think, my Spanish-speaking friends? (Yes, I know that “Claro de Reloj” doesn’t mean “Hanging Out With Time”- it is not a literal translation)