What Unkempt Beard

We present this work in honor of Galician Literature Day.

Eduardo Pondal
Spanish
1835 – 1917

 

What unkempt beard!
What pallid colour!
What vestments soiled
By prolonged ailment!
Perhaps he is a scoundrel,
Perhaps he is a thief…
Dear mother, help me,
Help me for God’s sake;
Perhaps he is some impaired fellow
Who has taken leave of his senses.
O what a wild look
Full of dread and affliction!
I can not tell whether he frightens me,
Whether he moves me to compassion:
He resembles a pine tree thrashed by the wind,
He looks as if he were cast up by the sea of Niñons.

“Simple young girl:
Do not fear me,
I am not a tramp,
I am not a thief.
Daring hieroglyph
Of the dreamy bog
I carry on, and to myself a stranger
Abstruse enigma am I.
If I am crazy perhaps,
Love crazy am I.
That is why the good folk
Wherever I go
Say with admiration
Upon seeing my slovenliness,
‘He resembles a pine tree thrashed by the wind,
He looks as if he were cast up by the sea of Niñons.’

“The noble soul dared
Sleepless thoughts,
Turbulent ambition,
Ironhanded resolutions.
The turbid regiment
Of a thousand profound yearnings
Took away (as it did from Lucifer)
The original splendor.
Wise bards
Whom fateful law birthed
Dreamers and indolent
Partake of his nature.
That is why I do not
Know myself, no,
And the very trails
I tread exclaim:
‘He resembles a pine tree thrashed by the wind,
He looks as if he were cast up by the sea of Niñons.’”

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