“Y era el demonio de mi sueño” (And he was the evil spirit of my dreams) by Antonio Machado

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Y era el demonio de mi sueño, el ángel
más hermoso. Brillaban
como aceros los ojos victoriosos,
y las sangrientas llamas
de su antorcha alumbraron
la honda cripta del alma.

—¿Vendrás conmigo? —No, jamás; las tumbas
y los muertos me espantan.
Pero la férrea mano
mi diestra atenazaba.

—Vendrás conmigo… Y avancé en mi sueño
cegado por la roja luminaria.
Y en la cripta sentí sonar cadenas,
y rebullir de fieras enjauladas.

(poema de Antonio Machado)

And he was the evil spirit of my dreams, the most handsome
of all angels. His victorious eyes
shot fire like pieces of steel,
and the flames that fell
from his torch like blood
lit up the deep dungeon of the soul.

“Would you like to come with me?” “No, never! Tombs
and dead bodies frighten me.”
But his iron hand
gripped my right hand.

“You will come with me…” And in my dreams I walked
blinded by his red torch.
And in the dungeon I heard the sound of chains
and of beasts stirring in their cages.

(translated by Robert Bly)

Eduardo Yagüe (GIFT Producciones) made this videopoem in 2014 as an homage to the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado on the 75th anniversary of his exile and death. Eduardo’s reading is exceptionally good, and slow-paced enough that even those with just a little bit of Spanish should be able to follow along. Music by Jared C. Balogh accompanies the voiceover.

I first learned this poem (number LXIII from Galerías) through Robert Bly’s translation (above) in Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. (Alan S. Trueblood also translated it for a bilingual edition of the selected poems, but not quite as effectively.)

One Comment

  1. Reply
    Nobilis Bellator 20 May, 2016

    Well done, congratulations. I truly enjoyed watching your moving poem!

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