Monday, 31 January 2022

Five new translations by Brittany Hause of poems by Bolivian poet Ricardo Jaimes Freyre (ca. 1868-1933)


 


 

Song of Evils

Translation by Brittany Hause of Ricardo Jaimes Freyre’s “El canto del mal” 

 

Loki sings in the shadowed wastes

and wisps of blood are wound through Loki’s song.

The Shepherd sets his huge ice-flock to graze,

and the flock—shuddering giants—obeys the Shepherd’s voice.

Loki sings to the icy gales that pass,

and wisps of blood are wound through Loki’s song.

 

Dense fog hangs overhead. Waves break themselves

in muted clamor on the scarp. A ship surges

on the ocean’s dismal back, wild and free

like the fierce red-headed warrior at its helm.

Loki sings to the roaring waves that pass,

and wisps of blood are wound through Loki’s song.

 

When iron’s anthem rises toward the sky

to be answered by the sounds of dark disturbance,

and the wretch consigned to the sacred depths of the pit

reaches with stiff, entreating arms for the God’s sheltering shade,

Loki sings to pale Death that passes,

and wisps of blood are wound through Loki’s song. 

 

El canto del mal

By Ricardo Jaimes Freyre

 

 

Canta Lok en la obscura región desolada,

y hay vapores de sangre en el canto de Lok.

El Pastor apacienta su enorme rebaño de hielo,

que obedece —gigantes que tiemblan— la voz del Pastor.

Canta Lok a los vientos helados que pasan,

y hay vapores de sangre en el canto de Lok.

 

Densa bruma se cierne. Las olas se rompen

en las rocas abruptas, con sordo fragor.

En su dorso sombrío se mece la barca salvaje

del guerrero de rojos cabellos, huraño y feroz.

Canta Lok a las olas rugientes que pasan,

y hay vapores de sangre en el canto de Lok.

 

Cuando el himno del hierro se eleva al espacio

y a sus ecos responde siniestro clamor,

y en el foso, sagrado y profundo, la víctima busca,

con sus rígidos brazos tendidos, la sombra del Dios,

canta Lok a la pálida Muerte que pasa

y hay vapores de sangre en el canto de Lok. 

 

The Heroes

Translation by Brittany Hause of Ricardo Jaimes Freyre’s “Los héroes” 

 

Stirred up by a burning thirst for blood,

the Barbarian sinks his spur into his steed

and, in the thick of battle, hurls his bleak

and haunting war cry through the air.

 

Half-naked, drenched in sweat, littered with wounds,

his brain pulses with ferocious joy

as with his shield he deals the final blow

to an enemy staggered by fear and pain.

 

A strange radiance suddenly blooms into being

and a rolling sea of purple flames washes

over the murky line of the horizon;

scattered among glowing crimson lights,

broad torsos, bloodied eyes, and heads

of coarse blond hair are thrown into relief. 

 

Los héroes

By Ricardo Jaimes Freyre

 

Por sanguinario ardor estremecido,

hundiendo en su corcel el acicate,

lanza el Bárbaro en medio del combate

su pavoroso y lúgubre alarido.

 

Semidesnudo, sudoroso, herido,

de intenso gozo su cerebro late,

y con su escudo al enemigo abate,

ya del espanto y del dolor vencido.

 

Surge de pronto claridad extraña,

y el horizonte tenebroso baña

un mar de fuego de purpúreas ondas,

y se destacan, entre lampos rojos,

los anchos pechos, los sangrientos ojos

y las hirsutas cabelleras blondas. 

 

The Hero’s Death

Translation by Brittany Hause of Ricardo Jaimes Freyre’s “La muerte del héroe” 

 

Even now, he holds himself upright and with jerking movements

brandishes his sword; his ruined chest is hidden by a scored

shield, tinted red; he drops his gaze into the endless dark

and the rough, heroic song expires on his failing lips.

 

Silently and from a distance, the two Ravens watch the warrior

convulse, and they extend their murky wings in his direction.

To the warrior’s eyes, their wings’ dark night shines like the day.

Unhurried, they take flight together for the pale horizon. 

 

La muerte del héroe

By Ricardo Jaimes Freyre

 

 

Aún se estremece y se yergue y amenaza con su espada,

cubre el pecho destrozado su rojo y mellado escudo,

hunde en la sombra infinita su mirada

y en sus labios expirantes cesa el canto heroico y rudo.

 

Los dos Cuervos silenciosos ven de lejos su agonía

y al guerrero las sombrías alas tienden,

y la noche de sus alas, a los ojos del guerrero, resplandece como el día,

y hacia el pálido horizonte reposado vuelo emprenden. 

 

The Sword

Translation by Brittany Hause of Ricardo Jaimes Freyre’s “La espada” 

 

When the soldier’s sword, broken and blood-spattered,

is bathed in light tossed from the blazing War Horse’s red mane,

it lies dust-coated, like a toppled idol,

like an old God that the hills have swallowed whole. 

 

La espada

By Ricardo Jaimes Freyre 

 

La rota, sangrienta espada del soldado,

cuando el Corcel luminoso con su roja crin la baña,

cubierta de polvo yace, como un ídolo humillado,

como un viejo Dios, hundido en la montaña. 

 

Valhalla

Translation by Brittany Hause of Ricardo Jaimes Freyre’s “El Walhalla” 

 

The crimson anthem thrums. Shields and spears

reverberate in lingering, portentous din.

Purple rivers bubble from the open mouths

of bloody wounds.

There is kissing and laughter.

And there is a skull

brimming with mead that serves to quench

the fevered thirst of the dead warriors. 

 

El Walhalla

By Ricardo Jaimes Freyre 

 

Vibra el himno rojo. Chocan los escudos y las lanzas

con largo fragor siniestro.

De las heridas sangrientas por la abierta boca brotan

ríos purpúreos.

Hay besos y risas.

Y un cráneo lleno

de hidromiel, en donde apagan,

abrasados por la fiebre, su sed los guerreros muertos.




Brittany Hause spent most of their life in Bolivia, but currently resides in the UK. Their original poetry has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Kaleidotrope, and many other places, and their Spanish-to-English verse translations can be read in Better Than Starbucks,  Star*Line, and elsewhere. 




Jaimes Freyre - Bolivian poet, diplomat, and educator Ricardo Jaimes Freyre (ca. 1868-1933) was born in Peru. He spent a considerable portion of his life in Argentina, taking on a prominent role in the modernist literary movement active in Buenos Aires at the turn of the century both by editing contemporaries’ experimental verse and by publishing reams of his own poetry.




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