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Archive for May, 2009

When I was in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (only three or four days ago), I learned about Rosalia de Castro, a poet and novelist who wrote in both Galician and in Castillian. A contemporary of Emily Dickinson, she lived from 1837-1885. In that time, she wrote collections of poems, including La Flor, A mi Madre, Cantares gallegos, Follas novas, and En las Orillas del Sar, and novels like The Knight in Blue Boots.  Today she is both beloved and famous in north-western Spain. 

Here is one of her poems in Galician with an accompanying English translation. The first line of the poem is also its title:

Lévame a aquela fonte cristaíña
onde xuntos bebemos
as purísimas augas que apagaban
sede de amor e llama de deseios.
Lévame pola man cal noutros días…
Mais non, que teño medo
de ver no cristal líquido
a sombra daquel negro
desengano sin cura nin consolo
que antre os dous puxo o tempo.

Take me to that crystalline water spring
where we drank together
the purest waters that would quench
the thirst of love and the flame of desires.
Take me by the hand, as in days past…
But no, because I am afraid
to see reflected in the liquid crystal
the shadow of that dark disillusionment
with neither cure nor consolation,
that time put between the two of us.

Rosalia de Castro
1837-1885

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