Noriega Varela: As it gently rains

O sentirse feliz, no quer ser sola

Unhurried rain.  This soft drizzle,
Gently scattering gems about,
Is God’s blessing, little brother
Of tears, of fogs and misty rain.

The sky now has no other
Better gift to show its loving
To heather and hawthorn flowers
And the pumped-up oak canopy.

My birthplace, matchless Galicia,
Expects more than this rich present
Maybe, from brother sun, king of light: a sunbeam.

Maybe- since my soul discovers now
That, though used to the solitary cross,
To be happy it would rather not be alone.

 

Noriega Varela

This poem posed a number of difficulties in translation.  Noriega Varela uses simple language and simple successions of images that create a powerful impression: there is not a word or touch out of place.  Translating this into English means using a shorter line due to the basic differences between Galician and English.

I know it is not fair to talk about the beauties of another language to people who do not speak it, but it is worth pointing out that Galician words roll in the mouth with diminutives that add charm and delight.  Little brother, for example, is here hirmauciño with that last ñ creating the nya sound like gn in Italian.

The poem has an ABBA ABBA CCD EED rhyme scheme, which I have also not tried to retain, to avoid creating something hopelessly twee.  It was a difficult choice because the rhymes are such an integral part of the original, but one only has to read Pope and Byron a little to realise that strong rhymes are much more given to satire than meditation in English!

About Jason Preater

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One Response to Noriega Varela: As it gently rains

  1. Pat Preater says:

    I liked the poem As it gently rains
    because you can almost touch the drops as they glisten
    and I need to read it again

    Like

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