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Who’d have thought a Chilean poem and an Irish folk song (“The Foggy Dew” on penny whistle, by British software- and web-developer Chris Kent) would go together so well? But the mix of sweetness and melancholy was just right, I thought.

This is one of those videopoems that began with some of my own footage (of a spinner who wishes to remain anonymous). When I thought about what sort of poem to match it with, Gabriela Mistral came to mind almost right away — those who know her work will understand what I mean. Nic S. readily agreed to make and upload a recording to her new site Pizzicati of Hosanna. (How many times have Nic and I collaborated on something now? I’ve lost count. Riches, I got ‘em!)

Dicha can mean happiness, joy, good luck, or good fortune. Many translators, influenced by the title and the “stolen” part, have gone with “fortune,” but I think it’s better to keep our options open. So often, the simplest poems are the hardest to translate…

by Gabriela Mistral

I have a steadfast joy
and a joy that’s lost:
one like a rose,
the other a thorn.
That which was stolen from me
is still in my possession:
I have a steadfast joy
and a joy that’s lost,
and I’m rich with purple
and with melancholy.
Ah, how beloved is the rose,
how loving the thorn!
Like the double outline
of twin fruits,
I have a steadfast joy
and a joy that’s lost…

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