New York (Federico García Lorca)
Federico García Lorca (Spain 1898 - 1936)
there is a duck’s drop of blood.
there is a sailor’s drop of blood.
Beneath additions, a river of tender blood;
a river that has been singing
along the ghettos’ bedrooms,
and it is silver, cement or breeze
in the illusory dawn of New York. << illusory for fibbed
Mountains exist, I know.
And eyeglasses for wisdom,
I know. But I have not come to see the sky.
I have come to see the murky blood,
the blood that takes machines to the waterfalls
and the spirit to the cobra’s tongue.
Every day they are killed in New York:
four million ducks,
five million pigs,
two thousand pigeons for the agonizers’ taste,
a million cows,
a million sheep
and two million roosters
that leave the skies in shreds.
It is best to sob sharpening the knife << knife for blade
or to kill dogs in mind-bending huntings
than to endure, at dawn,
endless milk trains, << was: trains of milk
endless blood trains, << was: trains of blood
and trains of roses hand-tied
by perfume merchants.
Ducks and pigeons
and pigs and sheep
place their drops of blood
and the terrible shrieks of scrunched-up cows
fill the valley with pain
where the Hudson gets drunk on oil.
I denounce all the people
who ignore the other half,
the unredeemable half
who erect their cement hills << was: hills of cement
where the hearts of forgotten
little animals throb
and where we will all fall
in the last party of augers.
I spit on your face.
The other half hears me
devouring, singing, flying in its purity
like children in entrance halls << was: lobbies
who carry fragile little sticks
to the holes where the antennas
of insects rust.
It is not hell, it is the street.
It is not death, but the fruit store.
There is a world of broken rivers and ungraspable distances
in that cat’s small paw broken by the automobile,
and I hear the song of the earthworm
in the hearts of many girls.
Rust, ferment, shaken earth.
Dirt yourself who swim for the office’s numbers.
What shall I do, rearrange the landscapes?
Rearrange the love affairs which are later photographs,
which are later pieces of wood and mouthfuls of blood?
No, no; I denounce,
I denounce the conjuring
of these deserted offices
which do not broadcast the agonies,
which erase the programs of the jungle,
and I offer myself to be eaten by the crammed cows
when their cries fill the valley
where the Hudson gets drunk on oil.
New York (Federico García Lorca)
Debajo de las multiplicaciones
hay una gota de sangre de pato.
Debajo de las divisiones
hay una gota de sangre de marinero.
Debajo de las sumas, un río de sangre tierna;
un río que viene cantando
por los dormitorios de los arrabales,
y es plata, cemento o brisa
en el alba mentida de New York.
Existen las montañas, lo sé.
Y los anteojos para la sabiduría,
lo sé. Pero yo no he venido a ver el cielo.
He venido para ver la turbia sangre,
la sangre que lleva las máquinas a las cataratas
y el espíritu a la lengua de la cobra.
Todos los días se matan en New York
cuatro millones de patos,
cinco millones de cerdos,
dos mil palomas para el gusto de los agonizantes,
un millón de vacas,
un millón de corderos
y dos millones de gallos
que dejan los cielos hechos añicos.
Más vale sollozar afilando la navaja
o asesinar a los perros en las alucinantes cacerías
que resistir en la madrugada
los interminables trenes de leche,
los interminables trenes de sangre,
y los trenes de rosas maniatadas
por los comerciantes de perfumes.
Los patos y las palomas
y los cerdos y los corderos
ponen sus gotas de sangre
debajo de las multiplicaciones;
y los terribles alaridos de las vacas estrujadas
llenan de dolor el valle
donde el Hudson se emborracha con aceite.
Yo denuncio a toda la gente
que ignora la otra mitad,
la mitad irredimible
que levanta sus montes de cemento
donde laten los corazones
de los animalitos que se olvidan
y donde caeremos todos
en la última fiesta de los taladros.
Os escupo en la cara.
La otra mitad me escucha
devorando, cantando, volando en su pureza
como los niños en las porterías
que llevan frágiles palitos
a los huecos donde se oxidan
las antenas de los insectos.
No es el infierno, es la calle.
No es la muerte, es la tienda de frutas.
Hay un mundo de ríos quebrados y distancias inasibles
en la patita de ese gato quebrada por el automóvil,
y yo oigo el canto de la lombriz
en el corazón de muchas niñas.
Oxido, fermento, tierra estremecida.
Tierra tú mismo que nadas por los números de la oficina.
¿Qué voy a hacer, ordenar los paisajes?
¿Ordenar los amores que luego son fotografías,
que luego son pedazos de madera y bocanadas de sangre?
No, no; yo denuncio,
yo denuncio la conjura
de estas desiertas oficinas
que no radian las agonías,
que borran los programas de la selva,
y me ofrezco a ser comido por las vacas estrujadas
cuando sus gritos llenan el valle
donde el Hudson se emborracha con aceite.
Mignon, I got a real surprise from this. One of the conventions of the Translation board is the provision of a "prose crib", a literal translation to set against one's own work. I used to find that very difficult in the days when I posted here.
But since you are a newcomer to the board, I said nothing and, having no Spanish, I went to Google Translate for a rough guide. I was amazed to find that what you have is almost word-for-word what Google has. You have "fibbed" for "lied", "the glasses" for "eyeglasses" and "cobra's tongue" for "tongue of the cobra". With the cows at the end, yours are "crammed" rather than "squeezed" and you have swapped the inexplicable "Nerd" for "No, no". You have also changed "drills" to "augers", but I still don't understand the sentence.
The layout, of course, is ruined on Google and I am trusting your version of how the original looks on the page. I hope some of our Spanish speakers will come into the discussion, as I will obviously be of little help.
Mignon, I don't know Spanish, so I can't address the accuracy of this translation, but I know some other Romance languages, so it looks as though you are following the original closely most of the time. In terms of the register of some of your word choices, I might question "fibbed," which has very innocuous connotations in English, compared to something like "falsified."
Ann is right that providing a literal crib is customary, to enable those who don't know the language to assess your choices. In S4, it is customary in English to write "It is better to . . . than to . . . ." But someone who knows Spanish may be able to give you more suggestions for other word choices.
I'm not surprised that Ann reports this translation is pretty much what Google Translate produces. It seems very mechanical to me, and often settles for words that are the primary translation when you look them up rather than trying to find more interesting or colloquial ways of rendering those words. This leads to a stiffness that's not in the original.
To give a random example: You say "trains of milk" instead of "milk trains," which sounds more natural to me (and avoids suggesting that the trains themselves are made of milk).
In other words, I think your translation is too word-for-word, rather than phrase-for-phrase or sentence-for-sentence, and it needs to loosen up and include more of your own sense of how to write poetically.
I looked for another translation to compare, and I came upon one by someone named Michael Simms. Let me quote how he rendered the final strophe and then compare it to how you did it:
One of the things about translating free verse is that you may well find yourself inhibited from putting yourself into it and taking the sort of "liberties" we are pretty much forced to take when we are translating rhyming and metrical verse. Since the form doesn't force us to take liberties, we end up not taking any and it comes off as stodgy and crib-like. But I think you still have to approach translating free verse with the same spirit you'd use to translate formal verse, looking for interesting words in place of whatever word happens to appear in the Spanish-English dictionary as the primary meaning, and paying attention to the flow and the syntax without settling for mere accuracy.
I don't look at Google for translations, so I don't know how to get to Lorca's New York. Help, please. I started this translation on April 2019. I have several of Lorca's ongoing. I had 'drills' and changed today, because approaching the completion of the translation, I thought 'drills' could be understood as 'exercises.' I was/am not convinced it is better than 'drills' and was going to post questions here.
I, too, am surprised at your find, since a friend of mine used online translations and I always thought they were horrendous. But this is a rather simple poem--maybe this explains it.
What's even more striking, to me, is that those words you say I have changed, I may well have changed. This gets weirder and weirder as I read your comment. I had 'squeezed' but was not convinced of it. Oh my. I don't know what to say. As for the presentation of the poem, I never know--some places have it all in one block and others don't. This time, I didn't search for differences and took the liberty of separating into strophes.
I'm not sure what to make of this, except that, because I am having so much trouble with reactions to my poems, I decided to try posting translations. I'll post another one of Lorca's, one that's giving me a really hard time--will you help me with the Google translator comparison? Because the one I'm mentioning almost caused me to give up on all translations. What for do I do this, anyway, I tell myself. I don't submit, I just see really bad ones online and decide to try my own. This is exceedingly weird.
reply to Susan
Indeed, I do the best I can to stick to the original, but 'fibbed,' to me, is closer than 'falsified.' Falsified is beyond 'mentida' which is 'lie.' This is used to qualify New York--it is an odd thing to begin with, but 'falsified' would be way off, I think.
As for the crib, I have tried and I'm not able to do it. In other words, it would be like translating twice. Maybe my problem with cribs is that I translate as close as I can to the original. I stem from there and begin to make little changes each time I open the files. Does Google offer cribs? I wouldn't mind using cribs that are already made for the purpose.
Mostly, I have translated Peruvian poets, but they haven't been dead long enough and I don't know how to get permissions; this is why Lorca, one of the few older poets whose language is modern enough and not necessarily rhyming. The discouraging factor is that there usually are several translations of his work already 'out there.' But when I find them to be poorer than they need be is when I go for it. I've been doing this for myself and to share with a few friends. I think I'll stop Lorca then, if there are satisfactory versions already out. I don't think I found one for the poem I just posted.
I could take more liberties, but I don't choose to do that. I only do that when it is clearly not working.
The weirdness is that it's not just "pretty much", it's almost word for word, with the syntactical oddnesses all there, as here.
You asked for help, Mignon, so here's what you do. Go to Google Translate
and on the left hand side select "Spanish". Check that the right hand choice is "English". Then come back to this page, highlight the entire Lorca poem and paste it on the left hand side. Then read what appears on the right. OK?
I'm sure you'll see what I mean.
reply to Roger
I don't like the translation you have posted. I also don't agree with your ideas about translation.
You say, "I'm sure I could find problems with the Simms translation, but at least he seems to try to put the energy of his own writing into it, rather than simply doing a literal crib."
You say this as if it were a virtue to take liberties at large and change the flavor of the original piece. I totally disagree with this, and it is not easier to try to get as close as possible to the original and still have good sonics and such. If what I am producing is a crib, I don't know what to say about this. In short, I'm being asked to do a translation as a crib and then deviate from it, as if deviating from the original were a virtue. I can't go for that.
I think what is being discussed here is how my translation, at least this one, this time, is so much like Google's. My only guess about this is that this is a simple poem--you are not going to write horses for cows or chickens for ducks.. I'll glady post a few of Lorca's that sit in my files, to compare with Google. I'd like to know how to find the Google ones, then, because if they are closer to the original, I'd like them better than let's say, the Simms one you've posted, Roger, which I couldn't readily recognize which poem of Lorca's it was.
Thank you, Roger, though I don't agree with your preferences. Oh, did I say I started this one in April of 2019? It never takes me this long to write a poem of my own, so, please, don't imply I'm being lazy--I'm far more meticulous and careful with others' poems than I ever have to be with my own.
So much for thinking I'd find peace at Eratosphere if I stop posting my own poems and do this instead. This is so very not even what I'd like to be doing--I translate when I'm not convinced of the translations I've found--that's it--this is the only motivation and maybe a bit of a challenge to be met, no more. I would much rather share my poems, but we all know how that has gone for me here so far.
Thank you, Annie
Thank you. I'll bookmark this page. I'm having trouble with my mousepad and need to switch to a laptop my granddaughter just gave me. If I can paste in parts, it'll just take me longer, but will do. And then I'll do the same with other Lorca translations of mine--maybe they all belong to Google. I'll look at the dates, too. This is not good.
About syntactical oddnesses, I don't agree with Roger about his examples--I read English speaking poets also saying 'fruit of the loom' not always 'the loom's fruit.' I judge which to go with according to what seems closer to the original meaning. Sometimes, my minimal liberties, it's for the sound of it.
Thank you, Annie. I feel relieved that it hasn't even crossed my mind to present any of Lorca's translations for submission anywhere. I like poems I can't find online, but, as I said earlier, no permissions, no go. I chose this one, which is the farthest from my favorites of Lorcas, because of the theme, which I thought maybe Fliss would wish to use it. Annie, you have no idea how grateful I am to you right now..
I decided to use the part Roger quoted by itself and you are correct. Only "Nerd" is different. BUT, note, squeezed now shows as 'crammed,' like mine, while it was "squeezed" when you checked.
Something very odd is going on. When I switch computers, I may not use Chrome's browser. Suddenly, I have a pounding headache and feel horrible. Nothing is worth this.
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