Posts Tagged ‘preaching’

My sister Alice is awesome. At the moment, she’s a senior in high school and getting all her college acceptance letters (hooray! I am so proud of you!!) after months of waiting on pins and needles. She’s also a devout Christian, and her youth pastor has asked her to preach to her youth group, the Rebellion. (Yes, the Rebellion, an inner city youth group at Church on the Hill in Vallejo, California.) She’s preaching on the theme made fearless. She called to tell me about it, and I got to encourage her. Women preachers run in our family: I preach, our sister Anne preaches, and now Alice will preach the gospel, too. Soli Deo gloria.

As we talked, Alice shared with me a poem she recently wrote. It is modeled on a poem by José Martí, a 19th century Latin American poet from Cuba who wrote in Spanish. The poem by Martí emphasizes a repeated refrain; likewise, the poem by Alice does, too. Alice’s poem is in Spanish (about which she modestly says, “not perfect Spanish, I wish I was fluent!”), but she has provided an English translation for readers of The Poetry Place. I’ve provided a translation of of José Martí. Spanglish readers, read on!

“Selección de Versos Sencillos: XLIV”
José Martí

Tiene el leopardo un abrigo the leopard has a coat
En su monte seco y pardo: in his mountain dry and dark:
Yo tengo más que el leopardo, I have more than the leopard
Porque tengo un buen amigo. because I have a dear friend.

Duerme, como en un juguete, She sleeps, as if inside a toy,
La mushma en su cojinete the Japanese girl on her cushion
De arce del Japón: yo digo: under a Japanese maple. I say:
“No hay cojín como un amigo.” “there is no cushion like a friend.”

Tiene el conde su abolengo: The count has his ancestry,
Tiene la aurora el mendigo: the dawn has her beggar,
Tiene ala el ave: ¡yo tengo the bird has its wing:  but I have,
Allá en México un amigo! there in Mexico, a friend!

Tiene el señor presidente The respectable old president
Un jardín con una fuente, has a garden with a fountain,
Y un tesoro en oro y trigo: and a treasure of gold and wheat,
Tengo más, tengo un amigo. but I have more: I have a friend.

“Un Dios Quién Me Ama”
Alice Holthuis

Se dice que está contento
con la vida tal como es,
pero tengo un Dios
quién me ama.

Se dice que se vive para el fin
de semana, ¿Por qué no vive para
hoy? Porque tengo un Dios
quién me ama.

Se dice que “Estoy tan enamorado.”
Pero el día siguente, se rompa
el corazón. ¿Puedo decirle
de Dios quién me ama?

Se dice que ha tratado eso antes,
que éste no es su “cosa.”
¿Sabe qué me alegro porque
Dios me ama?

Se dice que no hay esperanza, propósito, no tiene prisa…
Yo he encontrado esperanza, propósito,
y un razón para vivir
en el Dios quién me ama.

“A God Who Loves Me”
Alice Holthuis

You say that you are content
with life as it is,
but I have a God
who loves me.

You say that you live for the weekend,
but why not live for today?
Because I have a God
who loves me.

You say that you’re so in love,
but the next day you break her heart.
Can I tell you about the God
who loves me?

You say you’ve tried that before,
this isn’t your “thing.”
Do you not know that I rejoice
because God loves me?

You say there is no hope, no hurry,
no purpose. I found purpose,
hope, and a reason to live
in the God who loves me.

I appreciated my sister’s poetic work because it really is a well structured, bilingual poetry lesson. Begin with a poem in a language other than English. Translate it. Write your own poem in the language of the poet, following the model the poet has provided, but enlarge or change the meaning, the message, with your own ideas. Then translate your own poem into English. Every poet can and should do this kind of work in order to explore the possibilities of poetic language in translation.

I encourage you to try it!

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