Saturday, 23 May 2009

Another fado and Salt again

A good day for work. Finished translating the essay by Krasznahorkai for the Tate, finished the wedding speech poem for H and R, bought two shirts and two bags, then finished translating a draft of the longest fado. This one:

The version I was given has several verses:

Trova do Vento que Passa
Ballad of the Wind Passing By
Manuel Alegre

Translated by George Szirtes

I ask the passing wind for news
Of home so far away
But wind keeps silence on the truth
And stubbornly won’t say.

I ask the rivers on which dreams
Are carried down the flood
But there’s no calm in that rough stream
Just sorrow and bad blood.

They carry dreams but leave behind
Nothing of home but tears.
Oh rivers, what comfort will you find
When no one ever hears?

Take a green clover, tear off leaves
And bring me some reply.
And tell the four-leaved clover it is
For my country that I die.

Men cast their eyes down as they go,
I question their sullen mood.
Silence: the only answer they know
To life in servitude.

I saw a green branch in splendour thrust
its head high, all aglow.
Those who obey a tyrant must
Walk with their heads bent low.

The wind keeps silent as the grave,
There’s no news from my land.
A crucified country where people have
Nails driven through the hand.

I saw my fatherland on the banks
Of rivers flowing past
Like one who loves to travel but
Is doomed to stay stuck fast.

I saw ships setting out in power
(my fatherland set fair)
I saw my country in full flower
(green leaves and green despair)

Some there are who would ignore
Your name or call it cursed.
I saw you on the dark cross you bore
In the arms of hunger and thirst.

And still the wind says nothing
The silence seems forever.
My fatherland stands moping
By the side of the sad river.

To ask for news is little use
For speech there’s little room.
But I’ve seen empty hands produce
A fatherland in bloom.

Flowers may grow in dung, say those
For whom your loss is gain.
It is for you that I must lose
My life to live again.

Night in my country enters hearts
And takes up residence there.
I ask the wind with all its arts
For news but there’s only air.

The clover has four leaves and four
Syllables has the word:
Li-ber-da-de. What can’t be read
Can at least be heard.

My reader’s can’t read but there is light
In the bleakest fate we bear.
Someone will always sow the bright
Song in the passing air.

In the saddest night there still remains,
Despite the tyrant’s blow ,
Someone who stands straight in his chains,
Someone who answers No.


And please look at the Salt appeal, below.

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