SUPERVIVENCIAS TRIBALES EN EL
MEDIO LITERARIO
SURVIVAL OF TRIBAL CUSTOMS IN THE
LITERARY REALM
Luis Cernuda trans. Stephen Kessler


Acaso él mismo fuera en parte responsable,
Por el afán de parecer un ángel, eterno adolescente,

De aquel diminutivo familiar en exceso con el mozo,
De sabor desdeñoso para el hombre,
Con el cual en privado y en público llamaban
Unos y otros, amigos como extraños,
Con esas peculiares maneras españolas,
Al cincuentón obeso en que se convirtiera.

En el poeta la espiritual compleja maquinaria
De sutil precisión y exquisito manejo
Requiere entendimiento, y no tan sólo
En quienes al poeta se aproximan
Sino también en quien detenta a aquélla.
Mas él, siempre movido por el capricho irrazonable
...............................del infante,
No quiso, tal vez no supo manejarla,
Ayudando a los otros, contra él, en el desdén artero.


Porque en la cuenta debe entrar la idiosincrasia indígena
Que jamás admitiera cómo excelencia puede corresponder
...............................a varios:
Su fanatismo antes mejor prospera si se concentra en la de
...............................uno.
Así tantos compadres del Poeta en Residencia,
Sin excluir, por su interés en la guerrilla, a éste,
Quisieron consignar al olvido su raro don poético,
Cuidando de ver en él tan sólo y nada más que a "Manolito"
Y callando al poeta admirable que en él hubo.


Perhaps he himself was in part responsible,
On account of his eagerness to seem an angel, eternally
...............................adolescent,
For that familiar diminutive excessively used for the young
And with a disdainful taint for the grown man,
That any and everyone, friends and strangers,
Called him both in private and in public,
With those peculiar manners of the Spanish,
Even when he'd become a fat man of fifty.

In the poet the complex spiritual machinery
Of subtle precision and exquisite handling
Requires understanding, and not only
In those who approach being a poet
But also in whoever holds it back.
But he was always driven by childish whims
And never learned, perhaps didn't want to know how to
...............................handle it,
Helping the others, against his own interest, in their artful
...............................dismissal of him.

Because one must take into account that indigenous
...............................idiosyncrasy
That never knew how to see excellence in several:
The old fanaticism only thrives when felt for a single one.
And that's why so many friends of the Poet in Residence,
Including this one, the subversive in me must admit,
May have tried to consign to oblivion his rare poetic gift,
Being careful to see in him only and nothing more than
..............................."Manolito"
And thereby stifling the admirable poet in him.

Copyright © the heirs of Luis Cernuda, transl. © Stephen Kessler 2008


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