Jose Marti: Simple Verses

I am but an honest man
who grew tall among the palms,
and before my death I wish
to sow from my soul its verse.

Yo soy un hombre sincero
De donde crece la palma,
Y antes de morirme quiero
Echar mis versos del alma.



I come from every which where,
and towards everywhere I go:
Art I am among the arts,
among hills, I am a hill.

Yo vengo de todas partes,
Y hacia todas partes voy:
Arte soy entre las artes,
En los montes, monte soy.



I know extravagant names
of the weeds and of the flowers,
I know well the deadly lie,
I know unnamable hurt.

Yo sé los nombres extraños
De las yerbas y las flores,
Y de mortales engaños,
Y de sublimes dolores.



I’ve seen in the darkest night,
come raining over my head,
such rays of the purest light
which are beautiful, divine.

Yo he visto en la noche oscura
Llover sobre mi cabeza
Los rayos de lumbre pura
De la divina belleza.



Wings I’ve seen, grown on the backs
of women, of beauty full:
and among the darkest wastes,
flying on, such butterflies.

Alas nacer vi en los hombros
De las mujeres hermosas:
Y salir de los escombros,
Volando las mariposas.


Quick, as quick as a reflex,
twice I’ve seen the soul, but twice:
when my old father passed on,
when she gave me her goodbye.

Rápida, como un reflejo,
Dos veces vi el alma, dos:
Cuando murió el pobre viejo,
Cuando ella me dijo adiós.



If I were asked to decide
among jewels which is best,
I’d take first an honest friend
and I’d leave love to the side.

Si dicen que del joyero
Tome la joya mejor,
Tomo a un amigo sincero
Y pongo a un lado el amor
.
I have seen an eagle, hurt,
fly on towards the quiet blue,
and I’ve seen dead in its den,
from its own venom, a snake.

Yo he visto al águila herida
Volar al azul sereno,
Y morir en su guarida
La víbora del veneno.

  

                       Jose Martí


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