Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Ramón López Velarde (1888–1921): Tenías un Rebozo de Seda

Translated by Timothy Adès

Tenías un rebozo en que lo blanco
iba sobre lo gris con gentileza
para hacer a los ojos que te amaban
un festejo de nieve en la maleza.

Del rebozo en la seda me anegaba
con fé, como en un golfo intenso y puro,
a oler abiertas rosas del presente
y hermético botones del futuro.

(En abono de mi sinceridad
séame permitido un alegato:
entonces era yo seminarista
sin Baudelaire, sin rima y sin olfato).

Guardas, flor del terruño aquel rebozo
de maleza y de nieve,
en cuya seda me dormí aspirando
la quinta esencia de tu espalda leve?

You had a silk shawl of two colors,
White on gray, such elegant layers
As to make for the eyes that loved you
A spreading of snow over briars.

In the silk of the shawl I was drowning,
In faith, as in gulfs pure and deep:
Scent of roses full–blown, in the present;
Sealed buds of the future, asleep.

Let me enter this plea as an earnest,
For it’s truth I desire to tell:
In the school for priests, we were lacking
Baudelaire, rhyme, sense of smell.

Do you keep it, dear flower of my country,
That shawl of briars and snow?
Asleep on those silks I was breathing
Your neck’s quintessence of dew!

Translation: copyright © Timothy Adès.

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