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Rosalia de Castro

Rosalia de Castro

Rosalia d e Castr o Also by Michael Smith from Shearsman Books: Poetry The Purpose of the Gift: Selected Poems Poetry in Translation Maldon & Other Translations Gustavo Adolof Becquer: Collected Poems (Rimas) Edited & translated with Valentino Gianuzzi: The Complete Poems of Cesar Vallejo in Three Volumes: The Black Heralds & Other Early Poems Trilce Complete Later Poems 1923-1938 Cesar Vallejo: Selected Poems Selected Poems Rosalia de Castro Edited and translated by Michael Smith

S hear sm an Books Exeter First published in the United Kingdom in 2007 by Shearsman Books Ltd 58 Velwell Road Exeter EX4 4LD www. shearsman. com ISBN-13 978-1-905700-44-8 ISBN-10 1-905700-44-X Translations copyright © Michael Smith, 2007. The right of Michael Smith to be identified as the author of these translations and introductions has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act of 1988. All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Acknowledgements The publisher and translator thank the Xunta de Galicia (the Regional Government of Galicia) for their financial assistance with the translation and publication of this book. Contents Biography Introduction Acknowledgements from A mi madre The hot season now over Wandering, fugitive, mysterious, Clothes and hair loose to the wind Now all light grew dark in the sky But . . what a strident and magical howl Where the erect cypress rises, And must I calmly enjoy God forbid I should forget you from Cantares gallegos When I hear you toll There in the early morning In the quiet evening Every star, its diamond The wind blows, the river flows from Follas novas A Few Words from the Author I well know there is nothing As the clouds You will say about these verses, and it’s true What’s happening around me? New leaves! the name you bear Some people say, My country!

Once I had a nail When one is very, very lucky Today or tomorrow, who can say when? That buzz of songs and laughter Now neither rancour nor disdain Quiet! 9 11 13 17 17 19 19 21 21 23 23 25 27 27 29 31 32 39 39 41 41 43 43 45 47 49 51 53 53 5 Goodbye! In the Cathedral No Charge Weeping I thought each night Who Does Not Lament? Sea, with your unfathomed waters Dig fast, dig When I think you are gone Happiness is Treacherous Tick-tock, tick-tock, in the silent night Flow, serene crystal waves How placid the sparkling! Padron! . . . Padron! rom En las orillas del Sar Some, very high You sense the sweet and fragrant Now passions sleep in their tomb A gentle river, a narrow lane Thirsting on the beach, the sands Soul, in fl ight from yourself Along the ancient road Some smeared him with slander In their prison of thorns and roses It was the last night White road, old road It seems that, behind proud Miranda, they still loom The moon, silent and, as always, pale The saddest shadow, indefinable and vague When the harsh Northwind blows Some say plants don’t speak, nor fountains, nor birds Black-winged thoughts! lee, flee in harass-ridden The hearts of some creatures The word and the idea . . . There’s an abyss “The dead go fast” In this world’s endless 55 57 61 63 65 67 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 85 87 87 89 89 91 91 93 95 97 99 101 101 103 103 105 107 109 109 111 111 6 The Bells High up the ravens croaked Justice of men, I seek you out As from the high summit Doubtless, he wasn’t born to love, no Although they may not achieve glory Hour after hour, day after day The day was mild 113 115 115 117 119 119 121 123 Women Writers 126 7 de A mi madre (1863)

I Ya paso la estacion de los calores, y lleno el rostro de aspera fiereza, sobre los restos de las mustias flores, asoma el crudo invierno su cabeza. Pero el azul del claro firmamento tiende sus alas de color sombrio, cual en torno de un casto pensamiento sus alas tiende un pensamiento impio. Y gime el bosque, y el torrente brama, y la hoja seca, en lodo convertida, dale llorosa al cefiro a quien ama la postrera y doliente despedida. II Errantes, fugitivas, misteriosas, tienden las nubes presuroso el vuelo, no como un tiempo, candidas y hermosas, si llenas de amargura y desconsuelo.

Mas alla . . . mas alla . . . siempre adelante, prosiguen sin descanso su carrera, banado en llanto el palido semblante con que riegan el bosque y la pradera. Que enojada la mar donde se miran y oscurecido el sol que las amo, solo saben decir cuando suspiran: «Todo para nosotras acabo. » 16 from To My Mother (1863) I The hot season now over, rough, fierce, harsh-faced winter lifts its head above what’s left of the withered flowers. Now the blue of a clear sky spreads its wings of dismal hue, like an impious thought over a chaste mind.

And the wood groans, and the torrent roars, and the dry leaf, turned to mush, gives its beloved zephyr a last and grieving goodbye. II Wandering, fugitive, mysterious, the clouds take their swift fl ight, not, as once, artless and fair, but laden with spite and grief. Further on . . . further on . . . , always forward, tirelessly they pursue their course, their pale visage bathed in those tears that drench the wood and the meadow. How angry the sea where they’re mirrored, and darkened the sun that loved them, they can only say while sighing: ‘For us things are ended. ’ 17

III Suelto el ropaje y la melena al viento, cual se agrupan en torno de la luna . . . locas en incesante movimiento, remedan el vaiven de la fortuna. Pasan, vuelven y corren desatadas, hijas del aire en forma caprichosa, al viento de la noche abandonadas en la profunda oscuridad medrosa. Tal en mi triste corazon inquietas, mis locas esperanzas se agitaron, y a un debil hilo de placer sujetas, locas . . . , locas tambien se quebrantaron. IV Ya toda luz se oscurecio en el cielo, cubriendose de luto las estrellas, y de luto tambien se cubrio el suelo, entre brisas, gemidos y querellas.

Todo en profunda noche adormecido, solo el rumor del huracan se siente, y se parece su aspero silbido al silbido feroz de una serpiente. ?Cuan tenebrosa noche se presenta! . . . Mas al abrigo de amoroso techo, grato es pensar que la horrida tormenta no ha de agitar la colcha de mi lecho. 18 III Clothes and hair loose to the wind, as they gather around the moon; crazy in incessant movement they mimic fortune’s to-and-fro. They pass, return and race unbound, the air’s children in fickle form, abandoned to the wind of night in the deep and awesome dark.

So, in my sorrowing heart, restless and wild expectations stirred, and held by pleasure’s feeble thread, wild . . . , wild, they also broke. IV Now all light grew dark in the sky, enveloping the stars in mourning, and mourning, too, covered the earth, among breezes, groans and gripes. All things in deep night’s drowsiness, only the whirlwind’s blast is heard, and its rasping whistle mimics a serpent’s vicious hiss. What a dismal night comes on! But under the shelter of a loving roof, it’s pleasant to think the horrid storm will never stir my bed’s counterpane. 19 V Mas . . . que estridente y magico alarido la ronca voz de la tormenta trae? Triste . . . vago . . . constante y dolorido, cual fuego ardiente, en mis entranas cae. Cae y ahuyenta de mi lecho el sueno . . . ?Ah? ?Como he de dormir? . . . Locura fuera, fuera locura y temerario empeno que con gemidos tales me durmiera. ?Ah? ?Como he de dormir? Ese lamento, ese grito de angustia que percibo, esa expresion de amargo sufrimiento no pertenece al mundo en que yo vivo. VI Donde el cipres erguido se levanta, alla en lejana habitacion sombria, que al mas osado de la tierra espanta, sola duerme la dulce madre mia.

Mas helado es su lecho que la nieve, mas negro y hondo que caverna oscura, y el euro altivo que sus antros mueve, sacia su furia en el, con sana dura. ?Ah! , de dolientes sauces rodeada, de dura hierba y asperas ortigas, ? cual seras, madre, en tu dormir turbada por vaporosas sombras enemigas! 20 V But . . . what a strident and magical howl the storm’s raucous voice brings? Sad . . . vague . . . constant and aggrieved, it falls, burning like fire, inside me. It falls and chases sleep far from my bed . . . Ah! How could I sleep? . . . It would be madness, madness and foolhardy to attempt going to sleep amid such shrieks.

How, indeed, could I sleep? That lament, that shout of anguish I perceive, that expression of bitter distress does not belong to the world I live in. VI Where the erect cypress rises, in a distant, dark room that awes the boldest on the earth, solitary, my gentle mother sleeps. Her bed is icier than snow, blacker and deeper than a dark cave, the haughty breath that stirs its hollows slakes its wrath with wanton rage. Ah! Surrounded by gloomy willows, by rough nettles and hard grass, what vague, hostile shadows, Mother, may trouble your rest? 21 VII ?

Y yo tranquila, he de gozar en tanto de blando sueno y lecho carinoso, mientras herida de mortal espanto moras en el profundo tenebroso? ?Llegara a tanto el insensible olvido? . . . ? La ingratitud del hombre a tanto alcanza, que entre uno y otro lazo desunido ceda siempre al vaiven de la mudanza? ?Odioso y torpe proceder de un hijo a quien la dulce madre en su agonia, con besos y caricias le bendijo olvidando el dolor por que moria! VIII Nunca permita Dios que yo te olvide, mi santa, mi amorosa companera; nunca permita Dios que yo te olvide, aunque por tanto recordarte muera.

Venga hacia mi tu imagen tan amada y hableme al alma en su lenguaje mudo, ya en la serena noche y reposada, ya en la que es parto del invierno crudo. Y que en tu aislado apartamiento fiero, tan ajeno del hombre y su locura, velen me llanto y mi dolor primero al lado de tu humilde sepultura. 22 VII And must I calmly enjoy an easy sleep and a loving bed, while you, struck by death’s fright, dwell in the dark’s depth? Will oblivion reach that far? Is man’s ingratitude so great, it always yields, as bonds slacken, to the to-and-fro of change?

A child’s base and odious deed, whom the dear mother, in her throes, blest with kisses and caresses, forgetful of the pain she died in! VIII God forbid I should forget you, my saint, my loving companion; God forbid I should forget you, though I should die, remembering you! Let your dear image come to me and speak to my soul in its mute tongue, or in a serene and restful night, or in a harsh night winter brings. And in your wild, forlorn isolation, alien to man and his folly, let my weeping and my sorrow keep vigil at your humble grave. 23