Oda a Valparaíso

Here’s another round of translation, this time with a Pablo Neruda poem: fittingly, “Oda a Valparaíso,” from his Odas Elementales. (Follow the link for the full Spanish text.)

 

Ode to Valparaíso
by Pablo Neruda
(translated by Hermitina)

VALPARAÍSO,
what an absurdity
you are,
how crazy:
a crazy port.
What a head
of disheveled
hills,
that you never finish
combing.
Never
did you have
time to dress yourself,
and always
you were surprised
by life.
Death woke you up,
in your nightshirt,
in your long johns
fringed with colors,
naked
with a name
tattooed on your stomach,
and with a hat. Read More

Another Poetic Interlude del Museo

You may recall that when I went to the Gustavo Le Paige Museum in San Pedro de Atacama, I found a poem I liked and posted a rough translation. On yesterday’s trip to the Museo Naval y Maritimo, I found another poem that I enjoyed, so once again, I’ll try creating a decent translation — see below. (As always, suggestions for improved translations are welcomed.)

I am the albatross
that waits for you
at the end of the world.
I am the forgotten soul
of the dead sailors
who crossed
Cape Horn
from all the seas
of the earth.
But they did not die
in the raging waves.
Today they fly on my wings,
towards eternity,
in the last crevice
of the Antarctic
winds.

– Sara Vial (translation by Molly Allison-Baker)



Poetic Interlude (del Museo)

A translation of a poem from the wall of the Gustavo Le Paige Museum’s La Sala del Tesoro.

They are here.
They discovered this plateau
ten millennia ago
and they tamed it
as their singular
promised home.

They built villages
and cities
amidst the
fruitful oases
and the silence.

Here is where they all come from,
alive and dead,
in the projection of adobe
and of cement,
convening past and future
for the reclamation
of their soul:
the most ancient,
the most earthly.

They are here
in this
the Treasure House
of the pueblos
of Atacama…

(translated by Molly Allison-Baker)

(Translation is fun! If you have any suggestions to refine my translation, do tell, by all means.)