"Sunset in Mid-Ocean" by Thomas Moran‘For Then’ by Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, Translated by Cheryl Corey The Society July 12, 2022 Beauty, Poetry, Translation 14 Comments . For Then by Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera (Mexico, 1859-1895) Translated by Cheryl Corey O, to die upon the open sea At sunset, facing heaven, where agony Is but a dream; and soul, the essence of me, Is like a bird in flight that’s soaring free. To be already one with sea and sky, And never hear the mourner’s plaintive cry Or prayerful sob; and if they question—why? Majestic waves will offer no reply. To die when the sad, fading light-display Of haloed nets withdraws from emerald spray; To be as the sun, which slowly slips away, Once golden-bright, but lost at end of day; To die while I’m still young and in my prime, When all of life’s a festive pantomime, Before destroyed by cold, capricious Time; Though life betrays, let parting be sublime! . Original Spanish Para entonces Quiero morir cuando decline el día en alta mar y con la cara al cielo; donde parezca un sueño la agonia, y el alma, un ave que remonta el vuelo. No escuchar en los últimos instantes, ya con el cielo y con la mar a solas, más voces ni plegarias sollozantes que la majestuoso tumbo de las olas. Morir cuando la luz triste retira sus áureas redes de la onda verde, y ser como ese sol que lento expira; algo muy luminoso que se pierde. Morir, y joven: antes que destruya el tiempo aleve la gentil corona; cuando la vida dice aún: “soy tuya”, aunque sepamos bien que nos traiciona. . . Cheryl Corey is a Connecticut poet. She is also an author of short stories, a novella, and recently completed a novel. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 14 Responses Michael Pietrack July 12, 2022 It reads so smoothly, satisfying. My favorite line: Majestic waves will offer no reply Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 12, 2022 What a privilege it is to read this beautiful translation with its spot-on meter and rhyme. Your efforts shine through and benefit us all. Thank you, Cheryl! Reply Brian Yapko July 12, 2022 This poem and translation are both very beautiful, Cheryl. I believe you’ve very skillfully captured the melancholy yet determined tone and intent of the original. Reply Cheryl Corey July 12, 2022 I appreciate everyone’s kind comments. The work of art that Evan selected perfectly enhances the mood of the poem. Reply Cynthia Erlandson July 12, 2022 Beautiful! Reply Yael July 13, 2022 That’s a really nice translation, I love it! It appears that the Mexican poet achieved his goal, having parted sublimely at the age of around 35 to 36 years. Did he die upon the open sea I wonder? Reply Cheryl Corey July 14, 2022 No, Yael. From what I’ve read, he was a hemophiliac and bled out during a surgery. Reply Margaret Coats July 14, 2022 As a hemophiliac, Gutierrez Najera must have known he would die young–and he may have had friends commiserating with him while he was still alive. Being “one with sea and sky” would have been a genuine dream. The third stanza is exceptionally beautiful in the original and in your translation, where your presentation of the image in the first two lines requires much thought and syntactic skill. I didn’t notice until the last stanza that you were using monorhyme stanzas to render Spanish abab quatrains. The “ime” rhyme isn’t an easy sound to manage, especially when you need an effective conclusion containing four words with it, but yours is “sublime.” Reply Cheryl Corey July 14, 2022 Thank you for your comments. Once I came up with the first stanza, the challenge was set to continue with that rhyme scheme. Reply Alena Casey July 14, 2022 This is a beautiful poem. I love the third stanza: “haloed nets” and “emerald spray,” and the likening of this death to a sunset. Reply Alena Casey July 14, 2022 And I agree–the artwork matches this perfectly! Reply Cheryl Corey July 14, 2022 The third stanza that I came up with is my personal favorite too! Reply Anna J. Arredondo July 15, 2022 Cheryl, I enjoyed both the original poem and your translation of it very much. I haven’t tried my hand at translation yet (other than attempts at translating some hymns from English to Spanish a while back), so I try to pick up some principles from the translations here on SCP. It seems to me that in stanzas one and three you more closely followed a literal translation, and admirably reproduced Nájera’s poetic imagery. In stanzas two and four, though less literal, you still captured the feeling of the original in your English rendering. Excellent and compelling. Reply Cheryl Corey July 16, 2022 Thank you, Anna. The process of translation can often feel like finding your way through a labyrinth between language and meaning. Why not revisit your earlier attempts of the hymns? Also, if you haven’t already done so, see Dr. Salemi’s latest post of July 11. His views on translation offer useful information. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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