Sunday, January 28, 2007

Recently I ran across another Pablo Neruda poem on someone's site, I forget whose site it was, and of course I enjoyed it tons because I'm a big Neruda fan. As some of you may remember, I posted a Neruda poem in the original Spanish a while back with a lovely translation by T. M. Lauth.

So all this got me to thinking. There is a favorite Neruda poem of mine that I memorized when Cristina was a mere gosling, so why not post it here and do the translation myself? Until now the only poetry I've ever translated was Catullus's love poetry from Latin, which incidentally was pretty steamy in places. At any rate, I thought I'd give this poem a shot, so I'm reproducing the Spanish from memory and providing an English translation as well. Hopefully I remembered the poem correctly -- I can't seem to find it on line anywhere.

Incidentally, I think this little poem makes a wonderful anti-war statement, and I find it very dramatic in its own minimalist way, even chilling. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

El Raid

by Pablo Neruda

Hormigas viene.
Hormigas van.
Las cucurachas comiendo estan.
Viene Raid,
Las mataran.
Y ya no volveran, ¡no no!

The Raid

by Pablo Neruda
translated by Hulles

The soldiers come.
The soldiers go.
The scavengers are feasting.
Then comes the raid,
And the soldiers die.
And they never come back.

See? I told you it was a dramatic little poem. I've loved this ever since it was taught to me by my bilingual ex-family, God bless 'em. Anyway, just thought I'd pass it on. Let me know what you think of the translation.

-- Hulles


Hulles said...

PLEASE READ ME -- if you are about to post a comment that says anything like "I liked this," you probably shouldn't.

This is because the "poem" in Spanish is really a jingle for Raid, the bug killer. I awoke singing it to myself this morning and this post emerged as you see it from my demented brain.

My family really did teach it to me of course. I have no idea exactly why they did this, but I thought the jingle was pretty catchy. Must have been if I still remember it.

If you really did like it, thanks, that means I was doing my job correctly. And don't feel dumb, no one expects you to know Spanish, at least around this blog.

Besides, I saved you from making the comment, didn't I? I like you guys, I don't want you to feel bad.

cK said...

Great. Just great. I'd already written to the Neruda Foundation about this new translation. I'd already been invited to give a lecture. Thanks for sandbagging me, Hulles.

Next time I see you drinking a scotch I'm going to set it on fire.

La Espia T. said...

Thanks for making me smile. I needed that! :)

teiadepalavras said...

Hulles, bom dia!!!

Atualmente, estou lendo um livro de Zélia Gattai chamado “Um Chapéu para Viagem”. Nesse livro da esposa do escritor Jorge Amado a também autora do livro aqui citado é amiga de Neruda e narra uma cena a qual ele havia presenciado entre ela e o Jorge Amado no Brasil. Antes de morrer descreveu do seguinte modo... “ La lluvia de claveles rojos em la madrugada”.

Do Brasil,

Claire said...

Heheheh, that's hilarious! Great work, Hulles!


angie said...

I kinda wondered...I was pretty sure "ormiga" was a misspelled "hormiga" (ant). But my Spanish is a little rusty & I was frankly too lazy to double check!


No worries. A good friend used to say if he wasn't making at least one mistake every hour, he wasn't learning a damn thing. Words I live by...literally!

Lo said...

Well, Hulles, because of your nasty trick you've been demoted. I now love you as I love the salt-rose, topaz, and arrow of carnations that propagate fire.

Hulles said...

cK, sorry about the lecture. If you'd like I can work with La Espia T. and we can come up with a whole book of new Neruda stuff. And I bet I drink the scotch anyway, fire or no.

T., good, I'm glad I could make you smile. Hope you're feeling better.

Casti, kisses to you too. I got most of your comment without the translator (!) but the translator thing seems to be broken right now so I'll respond later.

Claire, thanks lots.

Angie, dang it! I changed the post. So much for "Spanish is spelled just like it sounds." I knew I should have run it by Cristina first, but I didn't want to bug her. Thanks lots for pointing out the error. And I'm with you and your friend on the mistake thing; I make one about every five minutes.

Lo, what do I need to do to get remoted? And know that regardless, I love you as I love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, which is a lot. In a more serious vein, thanks, that was lovely.