Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Ramón López Velarde (1888–1921): El Retorno Maléfico / The Accursed Homecoming

Translated by Timothy Adès

Mejor será no regresar al pueblo,
al edén subvertido que se calla
en la mutilación de la metralla.
Hasta los fresnos mancos,
los dignatarios de cúpula oronda,
han de rodar las quejas de la torre
acrillada en los vientos de fronda.

Y la fusilería grabó en la cal
de todas las paredes
de la aldea espectral,
negros y aciagos mapas,
porque en ellos leyese el hijo pródigo
al volver a su umbral
en un anochecer de maleficio,
a la luz del petróleo de una mecha
su esperanza deshecha.

Cuando la tosca llave enmohecida
tuerza la chirriante cerradura
en la añeja clausura
del zaguán, los dos púdicos
medallones de yeso,
entornando los párpados narcóticos,
se mirarán y se dirán: “┬┐Qué es eso?”

Y yo entraré con pies advenedizos
hasta el patio agorero
en que hay un brocal ensimismado,
con un cubo de cuero
goteando su gota categórica
como un estribillo plañidero.

The village? Better not go back
to that subverted heart’s desire
silenced and smashed by rattling fire.
The worthy ash and alder trees,
once nobly domed, now amputees,
must hear the keening of the tower
riddled by winds of civil war.

And rifles have carved into the plaster
of every wall
of the village of disaster
black and ill–omened maps,
and the prodigal son returning
to his home on an evil night
may read there by the light
of an oily lampwick’s burning
his hopes’ and dreams’ undoing.

When the rusty key with a clumsy creak
turns in the lock of the antique
main front door to the hall,
the modest pair of plaster bosses,
with sleepy–lidded glances at
one another, will say, “what’s that?”

And I as one who intrudes
shall step inside to the delphic court
where the well–stone broods
with its leather pail, engrossed
in dripping its categorical drops
like the plaintive dirge of a ghost.

Translation: copyright © Timothy Adès

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