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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Como Tú (Like You)

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I'm going to end National Poetry month with this lovely poem called "Like You" by El Salvador's Roque Dalton Garcia. I've been getting my ESL students to read English translations of poems by people from their native lands and I've had several of my El Salvadorian students read Roque's poem. One student liked it so much that he read it a second time and then insisted that I read the Spanish version. He corrected my pronunciation on one of the words and gave me a "muy bien!" when I finished. It was definitely a treat. Check out "Like You" or "Como Tú."

Like You
by Roque Dalton
(Translated by Jack Hirschman)

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky --
blue landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.
I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
love,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

And here it is in the original Spanish:

Como Tú
por Roque Dalton

Yo como tú
amo el amor,
la vida,
el dulce encanto de las cosas
el paisaje celeste de los días de enero.

También mi sangre bulle
y río por los ojos
que han conocido el brote de las lágrimas.
Creo que el mundo es bello,
que la poesía es como el pan,
de todos.

Y que mis venas no terminan en mí,
sino en la sangre unánime
de los que luchan por la vida,
el amor,
las cosas,
el paisaje y el pan,
la poesía de todos.

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