Lord’s Prayer

February 17, 2008 at 4:21 am 1 comment

Nicanor Parra

Listen

Our Father which art in heaven
Full of all manner of problems
With a wrinkled brow
(As if you were a common everyday man)
Think no more of us.

We understand that you suffer
Because you can’t put everything in order.

We know the Demon will not leave you alone
Tearing down everything you build.

He laughs at you
But we weep with you:
Don’t pay any attention to his devilish laughter.

Our Father who art where thou art
Surrounded by unfaithful Angels
Sincerely don’t suffer any more for us
You must take into account
That the gods are not infallible
And that we have come to forgive everything.

[translated from the Spanish by Miller Williams]

The original:

Padre neustro que estas en el cielo
Lleno de toda clase de problemas
Con el ceno fruncido
Como si fueras un hombre vulgar y corriente
No piense mas en nosotros.

Comprendemos que sufres
Porque no puedes arreglar las cosas.

Sabemos que el Demonio no te deja tranquilo
Desconstruyendo lo que tu construyes.

El se rie de ti
Pero nostros lloramos contigo.

Padre nuestro que estas donde estas
Rodeado de angeles desleales
Sinceramente
no sufras mas por nosotros
Tienes que darte cuenta
De que los dioses no son infalibles
Y que nosotros perdonamos todo.

This is Parra at his plain-spoken, subversive best. The tone of the poem is sympathetic, friendly, yet with these few simple lines Parra effectively turns the Lord’s Prayer inside out, reversing the relationship between man and God so that it is now the gods who suffer and prove fallible and man who must find in his heart the compassion to forgive them. If you’ve ever wanted to know what anti-poetry is, I can’t think of a better example than this.

[falstaff]

Entry filed under: Falstaff, Miller Williams, Nicanor Parra, Spanish. Tags: .

The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart Todesfuge

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