Pedro Salinas: “My voice because of you (49)”


My voice because of you


Translated by Shyal Bhandari (University of St Andrews)




You cannot love me:

you are high, so high up!

And to console me

you send me shadows, copies,

portraits, simulacra,

all so alike

as if they were you.

Between figurations

I live, of you, without you.

They love me,

accompany me. We go

through cloisters of water,

through the floating ice,

through the pampa, or to deep

and minute picture houses.

Always talking about you.

They tell me:

‘We are not she, but

what a likeness!’

Your spectres, what long

arms and hard lips

they have: yes, like you.

Pretending you love me,

they hug me and kiss me.

Their tender voices say

that you hug and you

kiss like that. I live

in shadows, among shadows

of warm, beautiful flesh,

with your eyes, your body,

your kisses, yes, with everything

that is yours except you.

With false and divine

creatures interposed

so that great kiss

we cannot give each other

they give to me, I give to them.


La voz a ti debida




Tú no puedes quererme:

estás alta, ¡qué arriba!

Y para consolarme

me envías sombras, copias,

retratos, simulacros,

todos tan parecidos

como si fueses tú.

Entre figuraciones

vivo, de ti, sin ti.

Me quieren,

me acompañan. Nos vamos

por los claustros del agua,

por los hielos flotantes,

por la pampa, o a cines

minúsculos y hondos.

Siempre hablando de ti.

Me dicen:

«No somos ella, pero

¡si tú vieras qué iguales!»

Tus espectros, qué brazos

largos, qué labios duros

tienen: sí, como tú.

Por fingir que me quieres,

me abrazan y me besan.

Sus voces tiernas dicen

que tú abrazas, que tú

besas así. Yo vivo

de sombras, entre sombras

de carne tibia, bella,

con tus ojos, tu cuerpo,

tus besos, sí, con todo

lo tuyo menos tú.

Con criaturas falsas,

divinas, interpuestas

para que ese gran beso

que no podemos darnos

me lo den, se lo dé.


De La voz a ti debida, 1933


Federico García Lorca: “Little Tree”

Little Tree


Translated by Isobel Wells (University of St Andrews)


Little tree, little tree,

Dry and green.


The girl is collecting olives,

young and fair of face.

The wind, seducer of towers,

takes her by the waist.

Four men on horseback pass by

atop Andalusian mares,

draped in blue and green dress,

capes long and dark of wear.

“Come to Cordoba, fair maiden.”

But the young girl does not listen.

Three young matadors pass by,

their waists so slight and slender,

adorned in the colour orange,

carrying swords of ancient silver.

“Come to Seville, fair maiden.”

But the young girl does not listen.

As the sky turns violet

in the dimly lit afternoon,

a young man passes by, carrying

roses and myrtles by the light of the moon

“Come to Granada, fair maiden.”

But the young girl does not listen.

The girl continues collecting olives,

young and fair of face,

as the grey arm of the wind

seizes her by the waist.


Little tree, little tree,

dry and green.

Federico García Lorca: “The Gipsy Nun”


The Gipsy Nun


Translated by Thea Mair (University of St Andrews)


White lime and myrtle’s silence. 

Mallows in fine sod. 

The nun sews jewel-like flowers 

on a cloth as pale as straw. 

In the spidery grey of the chandelier, 

seven spectral birds soar. 

The church, a bear, belly up,

growls on from afar.  

She sews so skillfully, with such ease! 

She longs to stitch

across that cloth

the flowers of her fantasy.

Such sunflowers and magnolias live in 

sequins and ribbons!

Such moonflowers and crocuses grace

the Mass napery!

Five grapefruits grow sweet 

in the nearby kitchen. 

The five wounds of Christ 

made new in Almería. 

Through the eyes of the nun, 

a pair of horsemen gallop. 

A last, muffled murmur

strips her of her shift and,

gazing on the clouds and mountains

of the listless distance, 

her heart of sugar

and verbena breaks.

Twenty suns crown

that erect plain!

In her fantasy she can still perceive

Those standing rivers! 

Yet she persists with her flowers

While above, on the breeze, 

The light plays high chess 

With the window’s tracery.


La monja gitana


Silencio de cal y mirto.

Malvas en las hierbas finas.

La monja borda alhelíes

sobre una tela pajiza.

Vuelan en la araña gris,

siete pájaros del prisma.

La iglesia gruñe a lo lejos

como un oso panza arriba.

¡Qué bien borda! ¡Con qué gracia!

Sobre la tela pajiza,

ella quisiera bordar

flores de su fantasía.

¡Qué girasol! ¡Qué magnolia

de lentejuelas y cintas!

¡Qué azafranes y qué lunas,

en el mantel de la misa!

Cinco toronjas se endulzan

en la cercana cocina.

Las cinco llagas de Cristo

cortadas en Almería.

Por los ojos de la monja

galopan dos caballistas.

Un rumor último y sordo

le despega la camisa,

y al mirar nubes y montes

en las yertas lejanías,

se quiebra su corazón

de azúcar y yerbaluisa.

¡Oh!, qué llanura empinada

con veinte soles arriba.

¡Qué ríos puestos de pie

vislumbra su fantasía!

Pero sigue con sus flores,

mientras que de pie, en la brisa,

la luz juega el ajedrez

alto de la celosía.

Federico García Lorca: “The Wounds of Love”

The Wounds of Love


Translated by Cliona Kennedy (University of St Andrews)


This light, this devouring fire.

This grey landscape which enshrouds me.

This sorrow centred upon one idea.

This agony of sky, of world and of time.

These tears of blood which adorn

an unplucked lyre, a lustful torch.

This weight of the sea that crushes me.

This scorpion which dwells in my heart.

They are love’s garland, the wounded’s bed.

Where awake, I dream of your presence

amidst the wreckage of my sunken heart.

Although I struggle to wisdom’s height

your heart has spread before me a valley

of hemlock, and knowledge of bitter passion.


Llagas de amor


Esta luz, este fuego que devora.

Este paisaje gris que me rodea.

Este dolor por una sola idea.

Esta angustia de cielo, mundo y hora.

Este llanto de sangre que decora

lira sin pulso ya, lúbrica tea.

Este peso del mar que me golpea.

Este alacrán que por mi pecho mora.

Son guirnalda de amor, cama de herido,

donde sin sueño, sueño tu presencia

entre las ruinas de mi pecho hundido.

Y aunque busco la cumbre de prudencia

me da tu corazón valle tendido

con cicuta y pasión de amarga ciencia.



Francisco de Quevedo: “A Portrait of the “Here Was Troy” of Beauty”

A Portrait of the “Here Was Troy” of Beauty


Translated by Madison Nimmo (University of Saint Andrews)


Face of white snow, but on a rook base,

a streak of soot where an eyebrow resides,

skin, at the point of becoming a hide,

silver, degrading into metal waste,

a drudge with loose and vulgar oration,

imitating the dressings of a raven,

with a complexion that is ruddy, greasy, graven,

and a phlegm-starched carnation.

With her golden locks having gone to spoil,

and an eye deserving a tail that coils,

she awaits nothing more than the kiss of a gargoyle.

Two weevil-eaten canine teeth,

a mouth as putrid as a rotting heath,

she is now a thistle, but was once a rose beneath.


Pinta el «aquí fue Troya» de la hermosura


Rostro de blanca nieve, fondo en grajo,

la tizne, presumida de ser ceja,

la piel, que está en un tris de ser pelleja,

la plata, que se trueca ya en cascajo,

habla casi fregona de estropajo,

el aliño imitado a la corneja,

tez que con pringue y arrebol semeja

clavel almidonado de gargajo.

En las guedejas vuelto el oro orujo,

y ya merecedor de cola el ojo

sin esperar más beso que el del brujo.

Dos colmillos comidos de gorgojo,

una boca con cámaras y pujo,

a la que rosa fue vuelven abrojo.