Sunday, 15 September 2013

LORD, I ask a garden - Alfonso Guillén Zelaya

LORD, I ask a garden in a quiet spot
Where there may be a brook with a good flow,
An humble little house covered with bell-flowers
And a woman and a son who shall resemble Thee.

I should wish to live many years, free from hates,
And make my verses, as the rivers
That moisten the earth, fresh and pure.
Lord, give me a path with trees and birds.

I wish that you would never take my mother,
For I should wish to tend her as a child
And put her to sleep with kisses, when somewhat old,
She may need the sun.

I wish to sleep well, to have a few books,
An affectionate dog that will spring upon my knees,
A flock of goats, all things rustic,
And to live of the soil tilled by my own hand.

To go into the field and flourish with it;
To seat myself at evening under the rustic eaves,
To drink in the fresh mountain perfumed air
And speak to my little one of humble things.

At night to relate to him some simple tale,
Teach him to laugh with the laughter of water
And put him to sleep thinking that he may later on
Keep that freshness of the moist grass.

And afterwards, the next day, rise with dawn,
Admiring life, bathe in the brook,
Milk my goats in the happiness of the garden
And add a strophe to the poem of the world.

Alfonso Guillén Zelaya (1888 - 1947) Honduras
Translated by William G. Williams

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this wonderful poem. I am not alone in believing that William G. Williams's poet son, William Carlos Williams, was actively involved in making the translation. In its original 1916 publication, the first letter of each line was not capitalized — this was daring and very intentional, as it was part of WCW's modernist experiment. For more, see "By Word of Mouth: Poems by the Spanish, 1916-1959."


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