Thursday, June 16, 2011

Song of the Open Road.

By Walt Whitman

Italy, France and England await. As I make the final preparations for a summer adventure, I feel so thankful for the opportunity I have to do what I love: to teach and to travel. Here are a couple of my favorite stanzas from one of my favorite poems of all time. Enjoy!

H a p p y S u m m e r !! :o)

AFOOT and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

The earth expanding right hand and left hand,
The picture alive, every part in its best light,
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,
The cheerful voice of the public road, the gay fresh sentiment of the road.
O highway I travel, do you say to me Do not leave me?
Do you say Venture not-if you leave me you are lost?
Do you say I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied,
adhere to me?
O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,
You express me better than I can express myself,
You shall be more to me than my poem.
I think heroic deeds were all conceiv'd in the open air, and all free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever
beholds me shall like me,
I think whoever I see must be happy.

Allons! whoever you are come travel with me!
Traveling with me you find what never tires.
The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude
and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
Allons! we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling
we cannot remain here,
However shelter'd this port and however calm these waters we must
not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted
to receive it but a little while.

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe - I have tried it - my own feet have tried it well - be not
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the
shelf unopen'd!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn'd!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the
court, and the judge expound the law.
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourselp. will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oda a La Vida. Ode to Life.

Pablo Neruda

Oda a la vida                                        Ode to life

La noche entera                                   
The entire night
con un hacha                                       
armed with a hatchet,
me ha golpeado el dolor,
                     has broken me with grief,
pero el sueño                                       
but sleep
pasó lavando como un agua oscura   
like dark water washed away
piedras ensangrentadas.                     
the bloody stones.

Hoy de nuevo estoy vivo.                    
Today again I am alive.
De nuevo                                             Again,
te levanto,                                            
I lift you up,
sobre mis hombros.                             
upon my shoulders.
Oh vida,                                              
Oh life,
copa clara,                                          
clear cup,
de pronto                                             
te llenas                                               
you fill up with
de agua sucia,                                     
dirty water,
de vino muerto,                                   
lifeless wine,
de agonía, de pérdidas,                      
agony, losses, and
de sobrecogedoras telarañas,            
overhanging spider webs,
y muchos creen                                   
and many believe
que ese color de infierno                     
this nightmarish tint
guardarás para siempre.                     
you will guard forever.
No es cierto.                                        
That is not true.
Pasa una noche lenta,                        A lingering night passes,
pasa un solo minuto                            
just one minute passes
y todo cambia.                                    
and everything changes.
Se llena                                               
Life's cup
de transparencia                                 
fills up
la copa de la vida.
                              with transparent brilliance.
El trabajo espacioso                           
The wide quest
nos espera.                                           
awaits us.
De un solo golpe nacen las palomas   
Doves are born in a solitary burst.
Se establece la luz sobre la tierra.      
Light reigns again over the earth.
Vida, los pobres                                  
Life, the poor
te creyeron amarga,                            
believed you to be bitter.
no salieron contigo                             
They did not rise from bed
de la cama                                           
with you
con el viento del mundo.                     
and face the winds of the world.
Recibieron los golpes
                          They received beatings
sin buscarte,                                       
without searching for you.
se barrenaron                                     
They tunneled
un agujero negro                                
a black hole
y fueron sumergiéndose                     
and continued their journeys,
en el luto                                            
submerged in mourning,
de un pozo solitario.                          
drowning in a well of loneliness.
No es verdad, vida,
                            That is not true, life.
You are
como la que yo amo                           
like my beloved;
y entre los senos tienes                      
between your breasts,
olor a menta.                                     
the perfume of spearmint sings.
Vida,                                                  Life,
you are
una máquina plena,                          
a complete instrument,
felicidad, sonido                               
happiness, sounds
de tormenta, ternura                        
of storm, tenderness
de aceite delicado.                            
of mellow oil.
eres como una viña:                         
you are like a vineyard:
atesoras la luz y la repartes             
you treasure and share light
transformada en racimo.                 
in the fruits of transformation.
El que de ti reniega                         
Whoever disowns you
que espere                                        
should wait
un minuto, una noche,                     
a minute, a night,
un año corto o largo,                      
a short or long year,
que salga                                         
to emerge
de su soledad mentirosa,                 
from his mistaken solitude,
que indague y luche, junte              
should search and fight, should join
sus manos a otras manos,              
hands with other hands.
que no adopte ni halague               
should not adopt, should not praise
a la desdicha,                                 
que la rechace dándole                  
should reject it, giving it the form
forma de muro,                              
of a wall,
como a la piedra los picapedreros, 
like the stonecutter with the stone.
que corte la desdicha                     
should take scissors to misfortune,
y se haga con ella                          
and make
a pair of trousers.

La vida nos espera                       
Life awaits for us
a todos                                          
all of us
los que amamos                          
who cherish
el salvaje                                      
the wild perfume of the sea,
olor a mar y menta                      
and the celebration of spearmint
que tiene entre los senos.             
nestled between its breasts.