TRIKUARENA THE TALE OF THE HEDGEHOG
Bernardo Atxaga trans. Margaret Jull Costa (from Basque)


Esnatu da tnkua habi hosto lehorrez egindakoan,
eta dakizkien hitz guztiak ekartzen ditu gogora;
gutxi gora behera, aditzak bame, hogeita zazpi hitz.

Eta gero pentsatzen du: amaitu da negua,
Ni trikua naiz, Bi zapelatz gora dabiltza hegaletan;
Barraskilo, Zizare, Zomorro, Armiarma, Igel,
Zein putzu edo zulotan ezkutatzen zarete?
Hor dago erreka, Hau da nire erresuma, Goseak nago.

Eta berriro dio: hau da nire erresuma, Goseak nago,
Barraskilo, Zizare, Zomorro, Armiarma, Igel,
Zein putzu edo zulotan ezkutatzen zarete?

Ordea bertan gelditzen da bera ere hosto lehor balitz,
artean ez baita eguerdia baino, lege zahar batek
galarazi egiten baitizkio eguzkia, zerua eta zapelatzak

Baina gaua dator, joan dira zapelatzak, eta trikuak,
Barraskilo, Zizare, Zomorro, Armiarma, Igel,
Erreka utzi eta mendiaren pendizari eldten dio,
bere arantzetan seguru nola egon baitzitekeen
Gerlari bat bere ezkutuaz, Espartan edo Corinton;
Eta bat-batean, zeharkatu egiten du
belardiaren eta kamio berriaren arteko muga,
Zure eta nire denboran sartzen da pauso bakar batez;
Eta nola bere hiztegi unibertsala ez den
azkeneko zazpi mila urteotan berritu,
ez ditu ezagutzen gure automobilaren argiak,
ez da ohartzen bere heriotzaren hurbiltasunaz ere.



The hedgehog wakes up at last in his nest of dry leaves,
and all the words in his language rush into his mind:
they come to more or less twenty-seven, including verbs.

Then he thinks: The winter has ended,
I am a hedgehog, Two eagles are flying overhead;
Frog, Snail, Spider, Worm, Insect,
Where on the mountain are you hiding?
Over there is the river, This is my territory, I am hungry.

And then he thinks again: This is my territory, I am hungry,
Frog, Snail, Spider, Worm, Insect,
Where on the mountain are you hiding?

He stays quite still, however, just like another dry leaf,
for it is midday and an ancient law forbids
contact with eagles, sun and blue skies.

Eventually night falls, the eagles disappear and the hedgehog
Frog, Snail, Spider, Worm, Insect -
leaves the river and walks up the side of the mountain,
as confident in his spines
as any warrior with his shield in Sparta or in Corinth;
and suddenly he crosses the border, the line
that separates the earth and the grass from the new road;
with one step he enters your time and mine,
and, since his dictionary of the universe
has not been corrected or updated
in the last seven thousand years,
he does not recognise the lights of our car,
and does not even realise that he is going to die.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Copyright © Bernardo Atxaga 2007; trans. copyright © Margaret Jull Costa 2007

Published in "Modern Poetry in Translation" 3/8


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