Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dawn - J. Ibarbourou

Juana de Ibarbourou (1895-1979) is little known here though famous, not just in her native Uruguay ( her photo is on the one thousand peso bill, as being photogenic didn't hurt!) but also throughout Latin America, particularly for the sensuality of her poems about love.  After her husband of thirty-seven years died in 1942, her subjects turned to contrasting the realities of aging and death with reminiscences about the past.  (A "medlar" - word in the poem- is a small, apple-like fruit that is edible only after it's over-ripe or beginning to decay.)

Dawn (transl - Spanish)
                                                             translated by Perry Higman

I have spent a restless and sleepless night.
Day is dawning and I slip out of bed, bored.
Today I alone walk along this long street
of sealed doors and sleeping houses.

A dawn like smoke.
It seems the sun, ill-humored,
has lit a fire with green wood
to cook its breakfast.

The wind is moist like it just came from
a bath. In the pale sky,
the colorless stars
little by little are vanishing.

A milkman in a red beret goes by.
From atop an old wall,
I am tempted by a bent, plush branch
heavy with ripe medlars.

I walk, walk, walk,walk.
When I return and bend over him
With a kiss, to wake him,
He will think, with hungry joy,
That I too have just come from the bath.

                                                                                     Juana de Ibarbourou Uruguayan  (celebration)

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