Autors i Autores

Salvador Espriu

Coberta del llibre Les cançons d'Ariadna.
Coberta del llibre La pell de brau.
Coberta del llibre El caminant i el mur.
Coberta del llibre La pell de brau.
Coberta del llibre El caminant i el mur.
Coberta del llibre La pell de brau.

2. English [Poems]

My People and I

In memory of Pompeu Fabra,
Teacher of us all.

We sipped away
at sour, taunting wines
my people and I.

We heard the harsh
views of the sabre
my people and I.

Such is the lesson
we've had to take in
my people and I.

The same fate
forever unites us
my people and I.

Lord, servant?
We are inseparable
my people and I.

Against scoundrels and thieves
right is on our side
my people and I.

We saved the words
of our language
my people and I.

Descending deeper
into pain we were learning
my people and I.

From the depths of the pit
upwards we'll gaze
my people and I.

Together we'll rise
in blazing hope
my people and I.

B., 9 February 1968.

(From Cançons d'Ariadna, 1949)

* * *

Rehearsal for a Canticle in the Temple

Oh, how weary I am of my
craven, old and brutish land,
and how I'd love to leave her behind,
going north
where they say the people are clean
and noble, refined, rich, alert,
and happy and free!
Then, in the congregation, my brothers would say,
disapproving, "Like the bird that flies the nest,
thus is the man who leaves his home",
while I, from afar, would laugh
at the law and ancient wisdom
of these my arid people.
But I can never pursue my dream
and shall remain here till my death.
For I am very craven and brutish too
and besides I love with
the pain of despair
this, the poor,
grubby, sad, ill-starred land of my birth.

(From "El Minotaure i Teseu", El Caminat i el Mur, 1954)

* * *


Sometimes it is required and ordained
that a man should die for a people,
but a people entire should never die
for one man alone:
remember that always Sepharad.
Make the bridges of dialogue firm
and try to understand and esteem
your children's different minds and tongues.
May rain fall gently on the cultivated fields
and may the air waft like a hand outstretched
benevolent and soft over the wide countryside.
May Sepharad live eternal
in peace, in order and in work
in difficult and hard-won

(From La Pell de Brau, 1960)

* * *

Roses Remembered

Do you remember how
those hands brought us roses
of Saint George, the long-ago
brightness of April? Light rain
was falling. We,
very bored, behind
the window, maybe ailing,
gazed down at life
in the street. Then
she would come, always
fragrant and graciously kind,
with the flowers, and she'd lock
outside, far from us, the suffering
of the poor dragon, saying
very sweetly our little names
as she smiled at us.

(From "Les ombres, el riu, el somni perdut", El Caminat i el Mur, 1954)

Translated from the Catalan by Julie Wark ©

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Institució de les Lletres Catalanes