Friday, September 01, 2006

Translating Lorca: Poem of Solea

Here's my latest try at translating, using a huge Spanish/English dictionary and an equally huge bilingual edition of Lorca's collected poems and my own sense of what he's saying.

Poem of Solea
For Jorge Zalamea

The earth dries up,
the earth is still
and the night
is huge.

(Wind in the olive grove,
wind in the mountains.)

Earth -
ancient earth -
it is light
and it is dark.
The earth
is a deep vault.
Without the darkness,
without its wounds,
the earth dies.

(Wind across the roads,

a breeze in the tree grove.)


Poema de la Solea
A Jorge Zalamea

Tierra seca,
Tierra quieta
de noches

(Viento en el olivar,
Viento en la sierra.)

del candil
y la pena.
de la muerte sin ojos
y las fleches.

(Viento por los caminos.
Brisa en las alamedas.)



Lyle Daggett said...

Ann, enjoyed reading this, and the other Lorca translation you've posted. I love Lorca's sense of geometry.

I also have the huge bilingual Collected Poems of Lorca, which is wonderful for gathering his poems together in a single volume. I have mixed feelings about some of the translations in the collection, which seems to me to vary greatly in accuracy and in catching (or not) the sense of the originals.

The title "Poema de la Solea" is actually the title of a sequence of poems -- each with its own individual title -- of which the poem here is the first section. Another translation I have, which gives the complete sequence, gives this section the individual title "Evocacion" (should be an accent over the "o").

Although "alameda" might be used sometimes to refer to a grove of trees in general, it more specifically refers to a grove of poplar trees. ("Alamo" -- should be an accent mark over the "A" -- is a poplar tree.)

I notice also that the original as you've given it here, and your translation, have omitted two lines from the poem.

If I might, here is my humble attempt at rendering in English:


Dry earth,
quiet earth
of immense

(Wind in the olive grove,
wind in the sierra.)

of oil lamp
and pain.
of deep cisterns.
of death without eyes
and arrows.

(Wind along the roads.
Breeze in the poplar groves.)

Ann said...

Lyle -

Very nice!

"de las hondas cisternas"
yes I missed that in the original but did include it in the translation as "is a deep vault."

I couldn't interpret the meaning of Solea and thought it was a region in Spain. Now that you've pointed out the series, it makes more sense as part of a whole.

Your "Earth / of death without eyes" repeats the "blindness" motif in the other poem. Interesting -


Lyle Daggett said...

"Solea" is a type of song, or song and dance, in the Spanish "cante jondo" ("deep song") tradition. Both of the poems you've translated here are from Lorca's book Poema del Cante Jondo ("Poem of the Deep Song"). The translations I've seen don't translate "solea," they just leave it untranslated.

I've read things about the various deep song forms and traditions (strongly associated in Spain with Romany or "gypsy" people), though I don't have a great deal of detail off the top of my head. Lorca gave a wonderful lecture about it at one point, which has been translated and published in English a couple of times.

A few years ago New Directions published a small book, "In Search of the Duende," which includes Lorca's lecture on cante jondo, also his famous lecture on the "duende" principle, and a small selection of poems and other writing.

Ann said...

Lyle -

Yes - I have Lorca's little Duende book - part of a series of essay/speeches. I also found an older paper of duende while doing some research sometime ago - didn't we "meet" online over Lorca & duende? Well I researched my blog & see that I came across your blog because of a post on Lorca. Do you ever visit Eratosphere? I started a fruitful discussion on duende about a year ago over there.