Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Encounter with a Great Poet: Antonio Machado

Walking down the Passeig de Gracia towards Gran Via de Corts Catalanes, I came across the building above indicating that the poet Antonio Machado had lived in the house for a certain period in the past. The tablet above is artistic and it caught my attention. Little did I know at that time that I would be learning about a great poet and a sensitive human being. Antonio Machado lost his wife early and many of his poems reflect his devotion to her as well as his solitude. I find the lines below very elegant:

He andado muchos caminos,
he abierto muchas veredas;
he navegado en cien mares,
y atracado en cien riberas

A simple translation would be :

I have traversed through many roads,
and opened passageways through thickets,
I have sailed through a hundred seas,
and anchored by a hundred shores.

Another stanza I find very beautiful is presented below:

Lord, you tore from me what I loved most.
Listen again, my God, to my heart's cry:
Your will was done, Lord, not mine.
Lord, my heart and the sea are already alone. (Tr. Ivan M. Granger)

The loss of his wife puts the poet on a lifelong journey of solitude and sorrow.

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