LA NORIA
THE WATER WHEEL
Antonio Machado trans. Allen Prowle

La tarde caía
triste y polvorienta.

El agua cantaba
su copla plebeya
en los cangilones
de la noria lenta.

Soñaba la mula,
¡pobre mula vieja!,
al compás de sombra
que en el agua suena.

La tarde caía
triste y polvorienta.

Y no sé qué noble,
divino poeta,
unió a la amargura
de la eterna rueda

La dulce armonía
del agua que sueña,
y vendó tus ojos,
¡pobre mula vieja! ...

Mas sé que fué un noble,
divino poeta,
corazón maduro
de sombra y de ciencia.

Afternoon fell,
sad and dusty.

The water was singing
its song of the people
in the buckets
of the slowly turning wheel.

The mule was dreaming -
poor old mule! -
in time to the shadow
that in the water was playing.

Afternoon fell,
sad and dusty.

I do not know what noble,
heavenly poet
merged with the harshness
of the ever turning wheel

the sweet harmony
of the water dreaming,
and bandaged up your eyes -
poor old mule! ...

but I know it was a noble,
heavenly poet,
a heart tempered
by shadow and by learning.

Trans. copyright © Allen Prowle 2010

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