Poets’ corner: Almafuerte

Sep 6th, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Poetry

Don’t embrace defeat, even defeated,
don’t feel yourself a slave even enslaved
trembling in terror, think you fearless,
and charge with fury, even wounded, even hurt.

Have the tenacity of the rusted nail,
though old and ruined, a nail as ever.
Not the cowardly folly of the turkey
that folds its plumage at first tremor.

Go forth like God, who never cries,
or like Lucifer, who never prays;
or be like oakwood, whose grandour
has need of water and won’t beg…
May bites and yells of vengeance yield your head,
Even as it rolls on dust or clay!

(That’s my own translation of the original Spanish,
which you can read below.)

No te des por vencido, ni aun vencido,
no te sientas esclavo, ni aun esclavo;
trémulo de pavor, piénsate bravo,
y arremete feroz, ya mal herido.
Ten el tesón del clavo enmohecido
que ya viejo y ruin, vuelve a ser clavo;
no la cobarde estupidez del pavo
que amaina su plumaje al primer ruido.
Procede como Dios que nunca llora;
o como Lucifer, que nunca reza;
o como el robledal, cuya grandeza
necesita del agua y no la implora…
Que muerda y vocifere vengadora,
ya rodando en el polvo, tu cabeza!

Pedro Palacios (Almafuerte)

2 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. I liked your translation,but,with all respect,you made a mistake:”o como el robledal que su grandeza,NECESITA del agua y no la implora…”means the oak trees need the water but do not beg for it.Thanks for the translation.

  2. You’re 100% correct, thanks for pointing it out.
    I’ve made the change in the post above. :-)

Leave Comment