Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A Facebook Translation

Enorme tronco que arrastró la ola,
yace el caimán varado en la ribera;
espinazo de abrupta cordillera,
fauces de abismo y formidable cola.

El sol lo envuelve en fúlgida aureola;
y parece lucir cota y cimera,
cual monstruo de metal que reverbera
y que al reverberar se tornasola.

Inmóvil como un ídolo sagrado,
ceñido en mallas de compacto acero,
está ante el agua estático y sombrío,

a manera de un príncipe encantado
que vive eternamente prisionero
en el palacio de cristal de un río.

------Jose Santos Chocano, EL SUEÑO DEL CAIMÁN

Dream of the Caiman

Enormous log dragged by the wave—
caiman beached on the river shore:
backbone a broken cordillera,
formidable tail, jaws an abyss.

The sun wraps him in a dazzling aureole—
a seeming mail-coat and heraldry,
a metal monster who shimmers
and whose shimmering lays a sheen.

Unmoving as a sacred idol
girt in a mesh of compact steel,
he lies against the still, dark water

like an enchanted prince
who lives an eternal prisoner
of the river’s palace of glass.

See four other translations, with a wonderful introduction, at Via Negativa.


Dale said...

I am in haste, but I wanted to throw this up. This was my version after being to pointed to the poem by Dave Bonta, and reading his translation, and getting valuable corrections and suggestions from several people. It was so much fun! We should probably throw regular translation parties over there.

Jean said...

Love this, Dale. You're born to be a translator of poetry, I think - accomplished poet with geeky attention to detail isn't a common combination.

Dale said...

:-) Yours is far better!