Promises, Promesas

I did promise to post a Spanish romance last week. See this post for a definition of romance.

This makes me really nervous because I’m not exactly fluent in Spanish. Writing poetry in a second language is freeing, though, and the results are often interesting. Many poets get caught in a web of idioms and cliches when writing in their own language, but when writing in a not-as-familiar tongue they may be inspired to invent odd turns of phrases. So, here you are. You’ll find a translation below it.

Romance de los viejos

Por domingo, caminamos;
Nos sentamos en un banco
Bajo un roble en el parque —
Dos viejos, lado a lado.

El roble derramó sombras —
Igualmente, tus palabras.
Me quedé tranquila – hasta –
“¡Parete tus peroratas!”

“¿Quieres que no te hable?”
Respondí, “Como así.”
Te callaste con suspiros
Por mi ausencia de tí.

Las palomas escarbaron
En busca de panecillos;
Arriba, el cielo gris
Me asió como un dios.

Pensé en lo pasado,
Cuando soñaba del amo
En las manzanas del parque
Sobre paseos de mármol.

Ese día y ayer juntos
Busqué panecillos secos
Entre las piedras y plumas,
Las piezas de oro mero.

“Hablas, mi viejo. Piensas en
Sueños de ayer, cosas altas.”
Negaste con tu cabeza,
Reíste y dijiste nada.

Romance of the Old Folks

Through Sunday, we walked;
We sat on a bench
Under an oak in the park –
Two old folks, side by side.

The oak spilled shadows,
Just like your words.
I remained tranquil, until –
“Stop your dull speeches!”

“You don’t want me to talk?”
“Yes, that’s just so.”
You fell quiet with sighs
For my absence from you.

The pigeons scratched
In search of bread crusts;
Up above, the great, gray sky
Grasped me like a god.

I thought of the past
When I used to dream of love
In the park blocks —
Over marbles pathways.

That day and yesterday together,
I searched for dry bread crusts
Between the stones and feathers,
The pieces of pure gold.

“Speak, old man. Think in those
Dreams of yesterday – loftier things.”
You shook your head no,
Laughed, and said nothing.


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