A letter of support for NZ from a poet in Spain – with translation by Dr Leonel Alvarado

Hi, Paula

It´s nice to check out that you all are alright and I´d like to send you all my support and encouragement in this time of tragedy in New Zealand. Thanks God your beautiful country is really able to bear the effect of a tsunami and an earthquake. A big hug from Madrid, Spain, and greetings from “Palabras Prestadas by Charles Olsen”.

Just only a few words in Spanish dedicated to Poetry Shelf :

“Esplendor de la Tierra
nunca mancillada por gigantes de estaño
el corazón civilizado de las ancianas
permanece abrazado a los árboles milenarios.

Tan cerca de Asia
mi mano te recoge
con sutil gracia,
aún mi ánimo espera
a tus ballenas corcovadas,
promesa de otra vida
monasterio en el acantilado.

Oración de respeto
y verdadero deseo de cambio
que nadie nunca, nisiquiera el barro
interrumpa vuestro largo abrazo…”

Juan M. Santiago León

 

 

Splendid earth
Never tainted by tin giants;
The elder’s civilized hearts
Remain embracing millenary trees.

So close to Asia
My hand picks you up
With soft grace;
My soul awaits
Your humpback whales.

 

This is a translation of the poem (below) by Spanish language poet Dr Leonel Alvarado, from Massey University’s Spanish Language programme. He is an award-winning poet in Spanish, and has published a book of poems in English too.

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “A letter of support for NZ from a poet in Spain – with translation by Dr Leonel Alvarado

  1. Maureen Sudlow

    Splendor of the Earth
    Never tainted by tin giants
    The civilized heart of old women
    It remains embraced to the millenarian trees.

    So close to Asia
    My hand picks you up
    With subtle grace,
    My spirit still waits
    To your humpback whales,
    Promise of another life
    Monastery on the cliff.

    Prayer of respect
    And true desire for change
    That no one ever, not even the mud
    Interrupt your long embrace … “

    Reply
    1. el Santi

      Congratulations, Maureen. I love this translation. But I’m not sure if I prefer Splendor of the Earth or Splendor of the ground or (soil). My mistake because I wrote Tierra in Capital. Your translation is wonderful because it captures the soul of the poem. Thanks a lot.

      Reply
  2. Little, Jennifer

    Hi Paula,

    Here is a translation of the poem (below) by Spanish language poet Dr Leonel Alvarado, from Massey University’s Spanish Language programme.
    He has the credentials, as he is an award-winning poet in Spanish, and has published a book of poems in English too.

    http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=8ADF213E-CBD8-0306-1B8A-5BDA5D9E50EA

    http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=4F9BD6DE-E795-6DA5-07D5-C89F2CA4A4D3
    http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=cd91f2ec-9d4e-c4a4-2584-6a4840966c7b

    Cheers
    Jennifer

    Jennifer Little – Senior Communications Adviser
    Massey University – External Relations and Development |T: 06 356 9099 ext 83172 |M: 64 27 453 4562 | E: J.little@massey.ac.nz | http://www.massey.ac.nz |

    Splendid earth
    Never tainted by tin giants;
    The elder’s civilized hearts
    Remain embracing millenary trees.

    So close to Asia
    My hand picks you up
    With soft grace;
    My soul awaits
    Your humpback whales

    Reply
  3. el Santi

    I must say that I enjoy this sort of unchained translations, but I have to remark any points : I prefer the translation from the robot of google indeed, because this time it wasn´t so literally horrible and I think Maureen had to correct it in the process. I respect the translation from the doctor Leonel (maybe Venezuelan?), because he gave it a precious music in english. And Sorry but I don´t think Italian and Spanish are so equal languages. If you say that you speak and write portuguese or catalonian languages, I buy your argument, but Italian is full of false friends for a spanish speaker. Italian shows a fake impression of touching languages, perhaps It would be like german and dutch. Too much vocabullary, expressions, idioms and grammar is different. And written italian is quite complicated for a spanish reader. Maybe spoken you could find some similar fonetics and thinking you can understand some similar roots of common words from latin. But I feel I have the debt to make my own english translation of this poem.

    Reply
  4. Paula Green Post author

    Thanks.Yes Italian and Spanish are very different. I do like the way I get strange whiffs of understanding when i hear Spanish in movies. Translating poetry is the hardest because there will always be loss – particularly in view of aural links. The complex or simple connections will always work a little differently. In all my years reading Dante in both Italian and English I saw this at work. I have also been fascinated by other writers (especially poets) translating poetry from a language thy have no understanding of. Ha! It is a glorious and sumptuous minefield. In this example it is enough to take our minds off things for a moment. I am now tempted to give this poem a go using a dictionary! Thanks all for sharing.

    Reply

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