Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

La barca milagrosa - English translation

My audio recording of the Spanish original and my English translation is available HERE


(translated by Catherine Chandler from the Spanish “La barca milagrosa”
in Cantos de la mañana, 1910, by Delmira Agustini (1886-1914)

Build me a boat, lofty as a thought . . .
then name her “Star”, or else “Obscurity”.
The whimsies of the wind and hand must not
command a craft as bold and fair as she!

She’ll move to the pulsation of a heart
incarnadine with fierce vitality;
she'll make me strong as in the arms of God.
Trimmed to the wind her sails must always be!

I’m loading all my sorrow in my boat;
with no set course, a lotus flower, I’ll float
along the vague horizon of the sea . . .
O Boat, my Soul Mate, what uncharted land,
what unexpected truths may lie at hand? . . .
This life, these dreams, shall be the death of me . . .

(translation by Catherine Chandler)