ANTES DE QUE TI FOSES VIAXEIRO BEFORE YOU WERE A TRAVELLER
Ramiro Fonte tr. Richard Bramah, Helen Buffery, Benigno Fernández Salgado & John Rutherford
- (from Galician)
Cando veñas ó norte, non preguntes
Por unha casa vella;
Pola sombra de seu, nas calexas deitada
Como se deita o inverno
Con derrotados meses sobre o mundo e as choivas.

Cando venas ó norte, vello amigo,
Non preguntes ás brétemas que furtan
Os segredos das cousas;
Non interrogues fondas baixamares
-E menos nun agosto de altas lúas - ,
Nin os bosques de antano;
Onde soñan as faias e as carballeiras nobres.

Hai unha casa branca. Agardareite
Aireando os seu cuartos,
Abrindo as contras, para que a luz reciba
Aquilo que foi meu;
Ordenando papeis dos meus esquezos,
Libros daquela, vérsos
Por rematar aínda,
Escuros calendarios que escribiron
Anos mozos e nomes de rapazas.

E esta canción que é túa, e escribín para ti,
Antes de que ti foses viaxeiro,
Moito antes quizais
De que tiveses sede, e decidises
Partir, soñar, ama-lo corazón
Destas palabras poucas.

Cando chegues ó norte, non preguntes.
Dirache o teu desexo que eu estaba agardando.

(from Pasa un segredo, 1988)
When you come to the north, you mustn't ask
For an ancient house;
For its shade, lying in the alleys
As the winter lies
With defeated months on the world and on the rains.

When you come to the north, my dear old friend,
You mustn't ask the mists that steal
The mysteries of things;
You mustn't question the deepest low tides
(By no means in an August of high moons)
Nor the forests of days long gone by;
Where the beeches and the noble oak glades dream.

There's a white house. I'll be waiting for you,
Airing all its rooms,
Opening shutters, for the light to claim
That which once was mine;
Ordering papers of my forgetfulness,
Books of those old times,
Verses still not done,
Obscure calendars that catalogued
Fledgling years and young girls' names.

And this song, your song, that I wrote for you,
Before you were a traveller,
Perhaps an eternity before
You became thirsty, and decided
To leave, to dream, to love the heart
Of these few words.

When you arrive in the north, you mustn't ask.
Your own desire will tell you I was waiting there.

(from A Secret Passes By, 1988)

Copyright © Ramiro Fonte 1988; Trans. Copyright © Richard Bramah, Helen Buffery,
Benigno Fernández Salgado & John Rutherford 1992 - publ. in 'Planet' by Berw Cyf.


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