Yo no tengo soledad – I do not know Solitude – Gabriela Minstral

Es la noche desamparo
de las sierras hasta el mar.
Pero yo, la que te mece,
¡yo no tengo soledad!

Es el cielo desemparo
si la Luna cae al mar.
Pero yo, la que te estrecha,
¡yo no tengo soledad!

Es el mundo desamparo
y la carne triste va.
Pero yo, la que te oprime,
¡yo no tengo soledad!

It is the night I abandon
from the mountains to the sea.
But I, who cradle you,
no solitude for me!

It is the sky I abandon
if the Moon falls to the sea.
But I, who embrace you,
no solitude for me!

It is the world I abandon
and the sad flesh leaves.
But I, who smother you,
no solitude for me!

Spanish version comes from this website: http://www.poemas-del-alma.com/yo-no-tengo-soledad.htm

Soledad means both loneliness and solitude in Spanish, and “I do not know solitude” is a slightly closer translation in terms of meaning, but in the original poem you have assonance between “mar” “va” and “soledad” and I made the decision to keep that.

Oprime / smother is a hard word to translate too. It also means crush, oppress and pressure and squeeze, so all these meanings are implicit in the Spanish but not in the English.

Desemparo is a strange one. It means “I abandon” and also “abandonment”. It doesn’t seem to exist as an adjective, and if it is not a common adjective there is no way it could be one of the few adjectives that doesn’t change with gender (irregularities can only last in common words), so it can’t be being used as an adjective here.

Check out another interpretation here: http://arielriverospavez.blogspot.ie/2015/05/three-poems-by-gabriela-mistral.html

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