‘So my girl, did you see a wolf
To take the words from your mouth?’
A young lad said this to a girl
Because she went silently by
Without saying a thing to him
Or those he was walking with.
‘So it seems,’ she said,
Without even looking him in the face.
‘And did he get a bite of you?’
‘You really want to know, do you?’
‘Of course I do, my darling?’
‘Well, if you’re interested… some other day
When we are out walking, if you happen
To meet me, I’ll let you know.’
And the poor girl was quiet… and sobbed.
Boys were always the same
And still are with the girls.
They go seven times around hell,
If necessary, to catch them.
Everything is to the point, as they
Not blind to all this, direct it.
So that touching up the fat
We’re talking about the hemlines
And when they talk of rolling
What they mean is on your back.
This is a poem in the vernacular by Manuel Leiras Pulpeiro. I have to confess I struggle with him because he uses colloquial expressions in the local dialect of Galician from Mondoñedo. He made a dictionary of some of these expressions but it wasn’t enough to give me a complete understanding of the double meanings in the last lines.
Why put the poem up then? Well, I have been thinking about some other blogs I have been reading dealing with sexual relationships. Leiras Pulpeiro was writing at the end of the nineteenth century in a world where the girl was very much the victim of the cocky young lad. Rosalía paints a similar picture of peasant life in the Cantares.
The two worlds collide in my head. Think, for example, of someone who is writing a blog about her experiences with a terrible set of boyfriends who are egotistical, demanding and transitory. Have things changed? I guess there was as much honour and good faith then as now.
What do you think?