Translating Cernuda

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Translating Cernuda on a cool summer morning, my body slowly warms as the sun clears the trees & begins beating on the porch. The cold drains out through my fingers & gets caught between the pages of the dictionary. A family of wrens — one adult & four juveniles — drops by to give me a thorough scolding. It’s true, I have no business doing this. To my ear, the words are single notes with few overtones, & I can rarely hear the whole music. The temperature climbs toward 70 degrees Fahrenheit — 22 degrees Celsius, according to the thermometer on the wall behind me — & I pull off my shoes & socks, prop my bare feet up on the railing & stare between my toes at a yard full of thistles. Two bees have already found the first purple bloom.

2 Comments


  1. To do those things that we have no business doing could in a sense be the business of life. Translating is difficult….somethings cannot be translated….just rearranged for a different linguistic point of view. By the way I liked your translation….have read it several times now.

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  2. Thanks, Fred. I’m inclined to agree with your views on life and translation.

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