Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Poem by Juana de America

Juana de Ibarbarou was also called Juana de America. Here is another of her poems, with an English translation and comment by the translator.

El afilador

Este dolor heroico de hacerse para cada noche
Un nuevo par de alas…
¡Donde estarán las que ayer puso sobre mis hombres
El insomnio de la primera hora del alba!
Día, afilador de tijeras de oro,
Y puñales de acero, y espadas de hierro.
Anoche yo tenía dos alas
Y estuve cerca del cielo.
Pero esta manaña
Llegaste tú con tu flauta, tu piedra,
Tus doce cuchillos de plata.
Y lentamente me fuiste cortando las alas.

The knife-grinder

This epic pain of making, each night,
a new pair of wings…
Those wings I put on my shoulders yesterday will become
insomnia, at dawn’s first hour!
Day, sharpener of golden scissors,
and steel daggers, and iron swords.
Last night I had two wings
and was nearly in heaven.
But this morning you came with your flute, your whetstone,
your twelve silver knives.
And slowly you started cutting off my wings.

From La rosa de los vientos, 1930

The translator of this poem was told by her father that in Caracas or maybe Maracaibo "there were guys who would indeed ride their bikes around town playing a litttle flute and advertising themselves as knife grinders."

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