does not describe me fully
it is where to start

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Father's Poem

My father wrote me a poem for my second birthday. He was living in the U.S., far from our sleepy Puerto Rican village, and he mailed the poem to my mother so she could read it to me. The poem exceeded the comprehension of a two-year-old, but the tattered letter became something I resurrected over the years on my birthday.

Originally, I had no intention of posting that poem. After three attempts at writing a post for today, though, nothing seemed particularly appropriate or ready or something. I was about to forgo posting anything new on the 8th when I recalled my father’s poem. Since today is my birthday, I decided to post the poem.

So here it is; first, in the original Spanish; and, second, as translated by me. Poetry is notoriously difficult to translate and furthermore I am not a professional translator so the English product is a mere glimmer of the Spanish original. If anyone has suggestions for improved translation, please leave them in the comments section. I thank you in advance.

You may scroll down for the English translation.

En el día de tu cumpleaños

En el límpido cielo de tu día
un reflejo auroral te está besando.
¡La natura se viste de alegría!
¡Todo parece estar en armonía!
al saludar tu alegre cumpleaños.

Todo ante ti es piélago de ensueños
donde te irradia el sol de Puerto Rico.
¡Todo recibe inspiración del cielo!
Mi lira de cantor en raudo vuelo
llega hasta ti para cantarte un himno.

Hoy, cumples dos abriles ¡qué dichosa!
Dos años que se van … nunca ellos vuelven,
pero dejan en mí la bella historia
de los primeros lampos de tu gloria,
que al celebrar tu día resplandecen.

¡Oh mi Judith! ¡mi cariñosa hijita!
remanso en que se borra mi amargura;
ese aliento, que en Lares tú respiras,
de allá viene a confrontar mi vida,
pues yo siento al respirarlo tu frescura.

Ya que en mi suerte deparó el destino
que en tu día besarte yo no pueda,
oraré con fervor al Dios divino,
que las rosas alfombren tu camino
y de Cristo conserves la nobleza.

On Your Birthday

In the limpid sky of your day
an auroral reflection is kissing you.
Nature is dressed in joy!
All seems to be in harmony!
to greet your joyous birthday.

Everything before you is a sea of dreams
where the sun of Puerto Rico irradiates you.
Everything receives inspiration from heaven!
My lyre of singer in swift flight
reaches you to sing a hymn.

Today, you reach two years. How blessed you are!
Two years that leave ... never to return,
but they leave in me the lovely history
of the first lampos [?] of your glory,
which glow while celebrating your day.

Oh, my Judith, my loving daughter!
haven which erases my bitterness;
this encouragement, which in Lares you breathe,
reaches here to confront my life
because I feel your freshness as I breathe.

Since fate would have my destiny be
that on your day I could not kiss you,
I will pray fervently to divine God
that roses carpet your path
and that you retain Christ’s nobility.

-Miguel Angel Mercado


Chennifer said...

what a beautiful poem!!!

Feliz cumple Judith!!!

Judy Croome said...

Happy Birthday Judith! Have a wonderful day and a year that brings much joy.

And I *love* the poem your Dad wrote you. It's such an interesting mix of melancholy and celebration.


Sun Singer said...

Happy birthday, Judy. Thanks for sharing that beautiful poem.


Judith Mercado said...

Thank you for stopping by and for your good wishes.

Nevine said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Judy. I'm sorry I missed it yesterday. And your father is a poet of the soul. I could feel his true emotions in every word written expressly for you. Thank you for sharing this, Judy.


A Cuban In London said...

What a beauty! dear me! I admit to having moist eyes now because lyrically speaking it is out of this world. How's this for a lesson on rhyming?

'Todo ante ti es piélago de ensueños
donde te irradia el sol de Puerto Rico.
¡Todo recibe inspiración del cielo!
Mi lira de cantor en raudo vuelo
llega hasta ti para cantarte un himno.'

I have to agree with you that although your translation is pretty good, the original is much better. It jumped off my tongue (oh, yes, I'm reciting out loud, but not too loud). It's in moments like this that I feel so proud to speak, read and write in Spanish. Many, many thanks for sharing this treasure with all of us.

Greetings from London.

A Cuban In London said...

Sorry, I had to come back. I just read it again and that beginning is a killer: 'En el límpido cielo de tu día
un reflejo auroral te está besando.'

He doesn't go for cliches, does he? Your dad. No 'sol' or anything else, 'reflejo auroral'. My God, what a turn of phrase, what elegance!

Greetings from London.

A Cuban In London said...

I'm back again, to apologise. Because I loved you father's poem so much that I forgot to wish you a happy birthday (belatedly). Sorry. :-)

Greetings from London.

Judith Mercado said...

Nevine: “a poet of the soul” How my father would have loved that.

Cuban: Thank you for adding to my enjoyment of my father’s poem. You’ve given me fresh eyes to view it. He was just my dad, but even years after his death, I still find nuances to him I had not appreciated before. You have contributed to that, and for that I am very grateful.

Thank you both for your birthday wishes.

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