23 July 2011

The Blessing of the Rain

There is a Mexican book author, poet, historian, and newspaper columnist named Armando Fuentes Aguirre (a.k.a. Catón) whom I consider my my friend and mentor although we only met once in person. True to my expectations he was one of the nicest, kindest, and interesting people whom I have ever had the pleasure to meet and I heartily shook hands with him to make sure that our worldlines were well connected. I have learned a lot of Spanish over the years just from reading his columns. I have also written about him at length on a previous post that you can access by clicking here.

Today his column "Mirador" contains a beautiful example of his prose and in the interest of introducing him to my fellow students of Spanish I have reproduced it here hoping that he won't mind. After the Spanish you will find my English translation. I had to use a little imagination and poetic license with the translation because if you just translate the "letter" of the Spanish and not the "spirit" the result in English is quite stilted and cannot even approach the beauty of the Spanish. No doubt that English is a very practical language but I am convinced that for shear beauty of expression Spanish is far superior.

MIRADOR
Armando Fuentes Aguirre

Diosito decidió de pronto volver a portarse bien, y se hizo lluvia en el Potrero.

La casa quedó llena con el aroma de la tierra mojada, más grato para nosotros que cualquier perfume. Hasta las piedras del camino parecían alegrarse, y bajo el agua fulguraban con brillos de piedras preciosas.

Abrí la ventana para que entrara el paisaje. En mi cuarto está ahora la nube, y están la montaña y el pino. Los muebles tatarabuelos parecen oír el gargarear de la gárgola, y el panzudo cofre que guarda antiguas escrituras y amarillentos papelorios se pone orondo como un rotundo caballero que ha comido y bebido a su placer.

De tierra y agua estamos hechos los humanos. La lluvia en el campo junta en nosotros esas dos materias, y las vuelve espíritu. Recibimos con gratitud la bendición. Afuera huele a tierra húmeda, y hay en los aposentos de la casa olor a alma mojada.

The Dear Lord decided to do a good turn and make it rain in El Potrero.

The house was filled with the smell of wet earth, more pleasing to us than any perfume. Even the rocks in the road seemed joyful and under the wetness they gleamed like precious stones.

I opened the window to let the outdoors in. In my room there is now a cloud and a mountain, and a pine tree. The great, great grandfather furniture seemed to hear the gurgling of the downspout, and the big fat chest that keeps the old writings and yellowed documents became self satisfied like a plump gentleman who has eaten and drank to his pleasure.

We humans are made of earth and water. The rain in the fields unites in us both of those elements and revives the spirit. We receive with gratitude the blessing. Outside it smells like moist earth and in the rooms of the house it smells like moist soul.

Web Page for Armando Fuentes Aguirre (Catón) http://www.caton.com.mx/

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5 comments:

Dwilson said...

Beautiful it is, and I was able to understand a great deal of it without looking at your translation. I am happy that you're back in the "posting, blogging" business!

Bob Mrotek said...

Dale,

I am pleased to learn that you are making good progress. That's great. Keep going!

Leslie Limon said...

Beautiful poem, Bob! Thank you for sharing it with us. :) One of my favorite aromas is that of "tierra mojada". :)

Don Cuevas said...

Gracias, Bob, por el poema. Mis sentimientos estan de acuerdo.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Anonymous said...

We just received our first rain in two months...only our second rain in three months. I can certainly appreciate this poem.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.