Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mario Meléndez of Chile

I was filled with great pride earlier this week when I learned that the Chilean poet Mario Meléndez had been awarded the prize for best Spanish Language Poem at the Harvest International Competition at UCal-Polytechnic at Pomona. It isn't that I had anything in particular to do with his having won, but I did translate his poetry into English for the Other Voices International Project, an international anthology of poetry. The judging of this competition was entirely based upon Mario's work and had nothing to do with my translation, but I will admit that this is my favorite of his works. I wrote him earlier to tell him of the prize and he gave me permission to share the poem with you. Here is my translation and his original poem: "La Portadora". If you like this one, you might also want to read a small selection of his work at Black Symphony in Volume 10 of Other Voices International Project.


She went out to walk the words
and the words bit the children
and the children told their parents
and the parents loaded their guns
and opened fire upon the words
and the words howled, yelled
slowly licking their blind wounds
until at last they fell face down
on the bloody ground
And then came death
dressed in its best pomp
and stopped by the home of the poet
to call her out with desperate cries
and the poet opened the door
without suspecting what awaited
and saw death suspended by it shadow,
“Accompany me,” death said to her,
“because it is night, we are in mourning.”
“And who has died?”, asked the poet
“Well, you,” responded death,
and extended her his arms
to give her his sympathy.

Copyright 2004 by Mario Meléndez. Translated by Ron Hudson.


Ella sacó a pasear las palabras
y las palabras mordieron a los niños
y los niños le contaron a sus padres
y los padres cargaron sus pistolas
y abrieron fuego sobre las palabras
y las palabras gimieron, aullaron
lamieron lentamente sus ciegas heridas
hasta que al fin cayeron de bruces
sobre la tierra desangrada
Y vino la muerte entonces
vestida con su mejor atuendo
y detúvose en la casa del poeta
para llamarlo con gritos desesperados
y abrió la puerta el poeta
sin sospechar de qué se trataba
y vio a la muerte colgada de su sombra
y sollozando
“Acompáñame,” le dijo aquella,
“porque esta noche estamos de duelo.”
“Y quién ha muerto?”, preguntó el poeta
“Pues tú,” respondió la muerte
y le extendió los brazos
para darle el pésame

Copyright 2004 by Mario Meléndez.



Blogger Zha K said...

"y le extendió los brazos
para darle el pésame"

Such sweet compassionate irony.


12/12/2005 08:28:00 PM  

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