Archive | 19:19

The Foreigner

3 Aug

 

The Foreigner

 

– What country is this foreigner from?

– I don’t know.

– What’s his name?

– I don’t know.

– What does he do? What language does he speak?

– I don’t know.

– What’s your name, my good man?

– . . .

– What country do you come from? Where are you going?

– I’m from here. I’m a foreigner.

 

Josep Palau i Fabre (1917-2008) tr. from Catalan by D. Sam Abrams


 

 

The Traveller

 

I have travelled many roads

and have opened many paths.

I have sailed a hundred seas

and been shipwrecked on

a hundred shores.

 

Everywhere I’ve seen

caravans of sadness

proud people sad people

drunks in the dark, dark shade.

 

Lecture hall pedants

watch on in silence

thinking they’re smart

because they do not

drink wine in humble places:

bad people who carry on

like pests polluting the earth.

 

And everywhere I’ve seen

people who dance and play

when they can

and work the skin

from their four palms.

 

If they arrive exhausted in a place

they’re never asked

from where they come.

When they travel

they ride on the shanks

of an old mule

They never hurry

not even on fiesta days.

 

Where there is wine

they drink wine;

where there is no wine

they drink fresh water

 

Good people who live

and work, get by and dream.

And one day like any other

they go into the ground

 

Antonio Machado (1875-1939) tr. from Spanish by Richard Gwyn

 

 

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