Thursday, July 10, 2003

I love the word "derramar".

I tried "the bee's four wings" and others and in fact varied it a bit in places as you can see. But I like the chant-like, oddly formal "the four wings of the bee", repeated.

I've read this translation out loud a bit and people like it a lot more than I thought they would. It is rough in places but there are also places where I just hit the sweet spot for lyrical translation into english. I could feel it.

The four wings of the bee

I've come back from our date with four bee-wings
pressed on my lips. Four bee-wings
gilded and red-hot.

Miracle like that of the beard of Dionysus,
The sweet-voiced god! The beard of Dionysus
that has four bee-wings instead of curls.

Your lips on my lips spill their honey
and the wings burst out. They spill their honey
and you have the sweetness of honeycomb on your skin.

Don't laugh. The four wings of the bee can't be seen
but they are felt on the mouth. The wings can't be seen,
but sometimes - amazing! - they buzz right into my head.

And yet still further inside. The sweet wings hum
right into my heart. The sweet wings hum
and free my soul of all anguish and care.

But if one day they stopped flying and buzzing...
If they turned to ash ... If it ceased, the hum
of wings that made my lips flower...

How sad death is! What lamenting black wings
then will bud forth! What black wings of grief
would replace the transparent wings of the bee!

Juana de Ibarbourou, 1919, Las lenguas de diamante

Los cuatro alas de abeja

He vuelto de la cita con cuatro alas de abejas
Prendidas en los labios. Cuatro alas de abejas
Doradas y bermejas.

Milagro como el de la barba de Dionisos,
El dios de acento dulce! La barba de Dionisos
Que tenía cuatro alas de abeja en vez de rizos.

Tus labios en mis labios derramaron su miel
Y brotaron las alas. Derramaron su miel
Y tuve las dulzuras de un panal en la piel.

No riáis. Las cuatro alas de abeja no se ven,
Mas las siento en la boca. Las alas no se ven,
Mas a veces, prodigio!, vibran hasta en mi sien.

Y más adentro a?n. Las dulces alas vibran
Hasta en mi corazón. Las dulces alas vibran
Y a mi alma de toda angustia y pena libran.

Mas si un día dejaran de alatear y zumbar...
Si se hicieran ceniza... Si cesara el zumbar
De las alas que hiciste en mis labios brotar...

Qué tristeza de muerte! Qué alas negras de queja
Brotarían entonces! Qué alas negras de queja
En lugar de las alas transparentes de abeja!

Juana de Ibarbourou, 1919, Las lenguas de diamante

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