19 July 2010

Kasia, Happiness and Bolesław Leśmian

My friend Kasia has sent me one of her favourite poems. She says she likes the poem very much because its content is true: it deals with happiness, romanticism and nostalgia. She also believes that sometimes, when she feels happy or happiness "visits" her, very often she does not know how to enjoy this moment and she simply lets it go. Well, I guess it happens to all of us as well !
The poem was written by the Polish poet Bolesław Leśmian, member of the Polish Academy of Literature and one of the most important Polish poets of the 20th century.
As Kasia has sent me the poem in Polish, its original version, I have encountered quite a few problems to grasp the real meaning the author wanted to trasmit in the Polish version. However, I have found quite a few English translations of the poem that have helped me understand the poem a bit more and that also may shed some light on Kasia´s idea of happiness as a "guest" who visits us every now and then and whose goal is to make us happy.
"Never close the door to happiness" seems to be a good strategy to be a happy person. Seize the day !


by Bolesław Leśmian (1877-1937)

Coś srebrnego dzieje się w chmur dali.
Wicher w drzwi puka, jakby przyniósł list
Myśmy długo na siebie czekali.
Jaki ruch w niebiosach! Słyszysz burzy świst?

Ty masz duszę gwiezdną i rozrzutną.
Czy pamiętasz pośpiech pomieszanych tchnień?
Szczęście przyszło. Czemuż nam tak smutno,
Że przed jego blaskiem uchodzimy w cień?...

Czemuż ono w mroku szuka treści
I rozgrzesza nicość i zatraca kres?
Jego bezmiar wszystko w sobie zmieści,
Oprócz mego lęku, oprócz twoich łez...


Outcoming silver in the cloudy sky
At the door the wind knocks like a postman
We’ve been waiting for each other, now
Watch the moving sky, the storm comes over

Bountiful ’s the starlit soul of yours
Merging breathes’ haste, you remember yet?
Happiness has come, why running off so sadly
From its glory into the blackening shade?

Why do our happiness mine the dark
To absolve nothingness running free
It seems that happiness can take all
But my fears, but your tears...

Ps. Sorry if you disagree with the translation. Please, feel free too send me yours and I´ll post it.

14 July 2010

Lorca and my friend Maciej

This is not the first post I write about Lorca and I guess it won´t be the last either. There is always a good reason to write a few lines about one of the most important Spanish poets ever. Even though he died very young, his poetry has reached people´s hearts all over the world.
My friend Maciej has told me that his favourite poem written by Lorca is “ Farewell”. To be honest, I was a bit at a loss when he mentioned the title of the poem because I did not know which poem he was talking about. However, when I had a look at it, I noticed that he was refering to “El Balcón” (“The Balcony”).

I supposse this is the type of poem that invites translation students to analyze the reasons why the title of Lorca´s poem has been translated like that. Well, among Lorca´s favourite topics are love, time, death, frustration and lansdcape. Certainly, whether we call it “Farewell” or “El Balcón” (“The Balcony”), the content refers to topics that he analyzes very much in detail in most of his poems, where he uses topics typically related to Andalusia, such as “the balcony” (2,4,6,8), nature, harvesters, “reapers”(5) , “wheat” (5) and children. Besides, the power of senses is of vital importance to him. Hence, for the poet is paramount to "leave the balcony open" (2,8) so that he “can see” (4) and “can hear” (6) all what is going on around him.

I have the feeling that the title “Farewell” highlights the topic of death as opposed to “The Balcony”, which is more related to senses, light, life, views and the like. Anyway, today, I am including Maciej´s favourite poem written by Lorca both, in Spanish and in English.

El Balcón
by Lorca (1898-1936)

Si muero
Dejad el balcón abierto

El niño come naranjas
(Desde mi balcón lo veo)

El segador siega el trigo
(Desde mi balcón lo siento)

Si muero
Dejad el balcón abierto

And here comes one of the English translations that I have come across.

by Lorca (1898-1936)

If I die,
leave the balcony open.

The little boy is eating oranges.
(From my balcony I can see him.)

The reaper is harvesting the wheat.
(From my balcony I can hear him.)

If I die,
leave the balcony open!

12 July 2010

Spain 1 Holland 0 - A match to remember -

Two years ago, it was the European Football Championship. Today...the World Cup. Yes, the Spanish football team has managed to beat Holland 1-0. What a superb match ! Both teams had quite a few opportunities to score but only Iniesta, "the little Quixote", touched by the spirit of the Muses, has kicked the ball the right way and has taken the Spanish team to the Olimpus, with the gods.

After those 120 minutes, people around me were clapping and shouting "Hiszpania!!!!!!". The guy next to me was kissing my cheek like crazy and hugging me strongly (who was tha guy ? I do not know, but who cares ? He was as happy as I was). Casillas, the goalkeeper, was crying like a child. So many feelings and thoughts were crossing my mind and my heart in the first seconds after the end of the match that a couple of teardrops ran down my face. What a feeling ! When did I cry of happiness last time? I must have been very very young because I do not remember.

What a beautiful feeling ! This team will be remembered for generations to come !

William Blake (1757-1827)

[...] he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise.

8 July 2010

Spain 1- Germany 0

Yesterday I went to a nearby restaurant to watch the football match between Germany and Spain. A friend had told me that the owner had installed one of those huge screens that make you see the match as if you were in the stadium.
From the very beginning I noticed that everybody was supporting Spain. What a match! Everybody around me was clapping and singing each time Spain had the ball, which was most of the time. That was really touchy ! Those 90 minutes were like a beautiful fiesta for Spain. The Spanish team played so well yesterday against Germany that I could not be happier. Honestly, the German team did not play to the best of their abilities and that was an element that we managed to use for our own benefit. The Spanish team, playing in "perpetual harmony and dance" (5) made "a mighty multitude vibrate" (4) and we simply took "possession of the sky" (2). La Furia de la Roja in action.
"Magnificent" (6)

The Recluse, l. 198 (1805)
by William Wordsworth

Happier of happy though I be, like them
I cannot take possession of the sky,
Mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there
One of a mighty multitude whose way
Is a perpetual harmony and dance

If you want to read about it, take a look here, or here, or here.
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