Monday, February 05, 2007

Neruda meme

Started by Sylvia, picked up at Zuky, among other places (he's got a list)

The Unknown

I want to measure how much I do not know
and this is how I do it:
aimlessly, I knock, they open, I enter and I see
yesterday's portraits on the walls,
the dining-room of the woman and the man,
the chairs, the beds, the salt-shakers
only then do I understand
that there, they do not know me.
I leave, and I don't know these streets,
nor how many men devoured by that street,
how many poor exciting women,
workers of many races-
unsatisfying compensation.

(n.b. this is me dicking around with my very rusty Spanish but still feeling this translation isn't quite working somehow, poetically speaking, the original translation follows and then the original Spanish:

The Unknown One

I want to measure how much I do not know
and this is how I arrive
casually, I knock, they open, I enter and see
yesterday's portraits on the walls,
the dining-room of the woman and the man,
the chairs, the beds, the salt-cellars,
only then do I understand
that there they do not know me.
I leave, and I know not which streets I walk,
nor how many men that street devours,
how many poor and tantalizing women
working people of various races,
and lamentable remuneration.


El Desconocido

Quiero medir lo mucho que no sé
y es así como llego
sin rumbo, toco y abren, entro y miro
lost retratos de ayer en las paredes,
el comedor de la mujer y el hombre
los sillones, las camas, los saleros,
sólo entonces comprendo
que allí no me conocen.
Salgo no sé qué calles voy pisando,
ni cuántos hombres devoró esta calle,
cuántas pobres mujeres incitantes,
trabajadores de diversa raza
de emolumentos insatisfactorios.

...eh. any Spanish-speakers want to take a shot?

3 comments:

antiprincess said...

my dad once composed a piece he called "the stone is silent", and he said it was from a Neruda poem "se concentra es silencio". but I can't find the poem. maybe because I misunderstood something?

Rootietoot said...

I think you could read a recipe for liver and onions in spanish and it would sound romantic. But then what do I know?

Jessica Dreadful said...

Translations always seem to be missing something-especially poetry. I actually re-did a translation of a Neruda poem for an English class. The problem is it's so subjective! You can get totally different things from the poem that someone else won't get..especially if you know the original language the poem was in..