Posts filed under ‘Rivera’

Saddest Poem – II

Pablo Neruda (Tr. By W.S. Merwin)

Rivera has recorded W.S. Merwin’s translation of the Saddest Poem. His original recording can be found here.

Listen

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

[blackmamba]

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February 14, 2006 at 12:55 pm 4 comments

Breaking Up

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

In what what would be our first listener request, we have a Yevtushenko poem, recorded by Rivera.

Listen

I fell out of love: that’s our story’s dull ending,
as flat as life is, as dull as the grave.
Excuse me — I’ll break off the string of this love song
and smash the guitar. We have nothing to save.

The puppy is puzzled. Our furry small monster
can’t decide why we complicate simple things so —
he whines at your door and I let him enter,
when he scratches at my door, you always go.

Dog, sentimental dog, you’ll surely go crazy,
running from one to the other like this —
too young to conceive of an ancient idea:
it’s ended, done with, over, kaput. Finis.

Get sentimental and we end up by playing
the old melodrama, “Salvation of Love.”
“Forgiveness,” we whisper, and hope for an echo;
but nothing returns from the silence above.

Better save love at the very beginning,
avoiding all passionate “nevers,” “forevers;”
we ought to have heard what the train wheels were shouting,
“Do not make promises!” Promises are levers.

We should have made note of the broken branches,
we should have looked up at the smokey sky,
warning the witless pretensions of lovers —
the greater the hope is, the greater the lie.

True kindness in love means staying quite sober,
weighing each link of the chain you must bear.
Don’t promise her heaven — suggest half an acre;
not “unto death,” but at least to next year.

And don’t keep declaring, “I love you, I love you.”
That little phrase leads a durable life —
when remembered again in some loveless hereafter,
it can sting like a hornet or stab like a knife.

So — our little dog in all his confusion
turns and returns from door to door.
I won’t say “forgive me” because I have left you;
I ask pardon for one thing: I loved you before.

I know there are a whole bunch of people who would not appreciate this poem today and others who would, and then there is the third kind, who will wonder, what all the fuss is about? :) This is for everyone of you.

Check the minstrels for commentary on the poem and wiki for Yevtushenko’s bio.

[blackmamba]

February 14, 2006 at 11:21 am 3 comments

Saddest Poem

Pablo Neruda

Listen

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

(Rivera reads the poem)

[blackmamba]

February 6, 2006 at 9:56 pm 7 comments

Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth

Introducing Rivera, my friend whose beautiful rendition and guitar playing, feature in this recording. (Scroll to the end of the post, for the alternate version of the same poem).

On why he chose to record this poem, “When I read this poem in my sixth grade, I found it near and dear to me. It reminded me of someone yearning for lost love.”

Listen [1]

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?–
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;–
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

[1] Rendered by Rivera.

Listen to a more interesting alternate version recorded by him. I was unsure if all the fancy guitar playing in the later version, distracts the listener from the poetry, so the former version is posted at the top.

[blackmamba]

February 3, 2006 at 9:10 am 4 comments


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