Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cien Sonetos de Amor: XVIII

I read Sonnet XVIII on the train, and fell in love with it straightaway. It sings of ancient mountains and quarrels. It shoots the arrows of beauty into the heart. My overly literal translation follows the original. I'm learning Spanish, and would be glad to get some tips.


XVIII

Por las montañas vas como viene la brisa
o la corriente brusca que baja de la nieve
o bien tu cabellera palpitante confirma
los altos ornamentos del sol en la espersura.

Toda la luz del Cáucaso cae sobre tu cuerpo
como en una pequeña vasija interminable
en que el agua se cambia de vestido y de canto
a cada movimiento transparente del río.

Por los montes el viejo camino de guerreros
y abajo enfurecida brilla como una espada
el agua entre murallas de manos minerales,

hasta que tú recibes de los bosques de pronto
el ramo o el relámpago de unas flores azules
y la insólita flecha de un aroma salvaje.



XVIII

Through the mountains you move as the breeze moves,
or the brisk stream falling from the snows,
your fine hair, palpitating, confirms
the high adornments of the sun over the forest.

All the light of the Caucasus falls on your body
like in a little vessel, infinitely various,
in which the water changes its dress and song,
with every transparent movement of the river.

Through the hills the old road of warriors,
and, below, furiously shines like a sword
the water in the mineral hands of old walls,

until you receive suddenly from the woods
the bouquet—the lighting bolt—of blue flowers
and the strange arrow of their wild aroma.


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