Casi elegía / Almost an Elegy

Original by Aitana Alberti

A mi madre

En esta noche en que he ido perdiéndome vaciándome
de mí y de los otros
sólo ha quedado una forma sin dueño
Entonces te he mirado como nunca
ni cuando lo eras todo y yo el germen posible

No querría pensar los lejanos derrumbes
por donde fui escapando
pero ahí están para mi mal incólumes

Tampoco sé decirte cuándo tu agua pura
me abandonó dejando
un casi olvido de mareas felices

Eco de tu palabra sobre batidos vientos
en la alta soledad murmuran las banderas
oigo los viejos himnos las canciones selladas
al comienzo del tiempo
y pasan los soldados envueltos en la tierra

Qué pesadumbre amarte
cuando ya hasta los árboles emblanquecen
y las fotografías desconocen los nombres
y los tiernos animales queridos abandonan
uno a uno la ronda
y no hay más libros dulcemente caídos
ni huellas de mis pies en tus pasos

Sin embargo algo se mueve en esta noche
algo en el yerto sueño se levanta
Cuando despierte el alba
recordaré el sabor de tus mejillas

Translation by Toshiya Kamei

For my mother

Tonight I was getting lost emptying
from myself and others
all that’s left is an ownerless form
Then I saw you as never before
not even when you were everything and I was a seed

I didn’t want to think of distant landslides
where I went fleeing
but there they are unharmed for my misfortunes

Nor do I know how to tell you when your pure water
abandoned me leaving behind
the almost oblivion of happy tides

Your word echoes over well-worn winds
as flags murmur in solitude
I hear old hymns sealed songs
at the beginning of time
and soil-cloaked soldiers march by

How sad it is to love you
when even trees turn white
and photos don’t recognize names
and loving animals abandon the circle
one by one
and there are no more sweetly fallen books
or my footprints in yours

But something stirs tonight
something gets up in a stiff dream
When dawn wakes
I’ll remember the taste of your cheeks

Aitana Alberti was born in Buenos Aires in 1941 to Spanish poet Rafael Alberti and his wife María Teresa León. She has edited volumes of poems by Spain’s Generation of ’27, which includes Federico García Lorca, Pedro Salinas, and her father, among others. Translations of her poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, and Mojo.

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations of short fiction and poetry have appeared in various venues. His book-length translations include Claudia Apablaza’s My Father Thinks I’m a Fakir and Selfa Chew’s Silent Herons.

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1 Response to Casi elegía / Almost an Elegy

  1. Pingback: “Casi elegía” – Toshiya Kamei

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