Wednesday, May 25, 2011

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Rosario!

Rosario Castellanos
Today in Mexico City, in 1925, Rosario Castellanos was born. She was one of Mexico's great literary figures. Her novel Oficio de tinieblas (The Book of Lamentations) dealt with cultural oppession in the Chiapas region and is one the classic novels of Mexican, or perhaps world, literature. She was also, or primarily, a poet.





Nocturne

Para vivir es demasiado el tiempo;
Para saber no es nada.
A que vinimos, noche, corazon de la noche?
No es possible sino sonar, morir,
Sonar que no morimos
Y, a veces, un instante, despertar.


Nocturne

Time is too long for life;
For knowledge not enough.
What have we come for, night, heart of night?
Dream that we do not die
And, at times, for a moment, wake.

This translation is from a Western Michigan University website that didn't name the translator (but did cite Miche Vicuna, Cecilia and Bogin, Magda, eds. The Selected Poems of Rosario Castellanos. Graywolf Press, Saint Paul Minnesota © 1988. I grabbed it quickly this morning and not only forgot to source it, but didn't even notice the poem's translation was a line short! (Thanks, Kathie...) This site - which has more poems - credits Magda Bogin with the translation, but also is missing the line. Every other page I find has the same translation. Don't know if Bogin skipped it, or if the first posted version of it did and the others (there aren't many) just copied it.

My Spanish is not good. I hazard this - very much hazard! - "Nothing is possible but dreaming and dying".

ps - Google Translate offers this
To live is too much time;
To know is nothing.
In we came, night, heart of the night?
It is possible but sounds, dying,
Sonar not die
And sometimes, an instant awakening.
That's not very satisfactory, though, is it?

Any Spanish-speaking readers want to chime in? I'll also ask at work tomorrow; we have some folks there who could help out.

pps - One did:

Time is too long for life;
For knowledge not enough.
What have we come for, night, heart of night?
Nothing is possible but dreaming and dying,
Dreaming that we do not die
And, at times, for a moment, wake.

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4 Comments:

At 5:39 PM, May 25, 2011 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

No translation for the fourth line, "No es possible sino sonar, morir"?

 
At 6:49 PM, May 25, 2011 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Kathie, in my haste this morning I didn't even notice! See the amended post for more details.

 
At 8:51 PM, May 26, 2011 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

A coworker told me the line should read "Nothing is possible but dreaming and dying" and added that the next line should be "Dreaming that we do not die"

 
At 11:44 AM, May 27, 2011 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Lovely -- gracias!

 

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