25 January 2010

Pedro Salinas

Here's a nice way to start the week. Spanish Byki tweeted me a link to this poem.

Posesión de tu nombre,
sola que tú permites,
felicidad, alma sin cuerpo.
Dentro de mí te llevo
porque digo tu nombre,
felicidad, dentro del pecho.
«Ven»: y tú llegas quedo;
«vete»: y rápida huyes.
Tu presencia y tu ausencia
sombra son una de otra,
sombras me dan y quitan.
(¡Y mis brazos abiertos!)
Pero tu cuerpo nunca,
pero tus labios nunca,
felicidad, alma sin cuerpo, sombra pura.

That's really lovely, I think. It's by Pedro Salinas, dated 1923. I realise I know very little Spanish poetry, and I haven't even heard of Salinas. Here's his wikipedia entry, having read which I still don't know much about him.

This poem is clearly modernist, however, and uses, like Pessoa sometimes does, a slackness of word order that's much more achievable in a Latin-like language. Here's a fairly literal translation.
Possession of your name
only this you allow
happiness, soul without body.
Inside me I hold you
because I say your name,
happiness, within the heart.
"Come": and you come I stay;
"go": and you rapid flee.
Your presence and your absence
shadow are one of the other,
shadows they give me and leave.
(And my arms outstretched!)
But your body never,
but your lips never,
happiness, soul without body, pure shadow.

More by Salinas here.

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