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poetry > spring 2016

Cormorán

Pablo Neruda

Crucificado en la roca,
inmóvil cruz de pelo negro,
se quedó allí terco y torcido.
El sol cayó como un caballo
sobre las piedras de la costa:
sus herraduras desataron
un millón de chispas furiosas,
un millón de gotas de mar
y el crucificado volante
no parpadeó sobre la cruz:
la ola se hinchaba y daba a luz:
temblaba la piedra en el parto:
susurraba suave la espuma
y allí como un negro ahorcado
seguía muerto el cormorán,
seguía vivo el cormorán,
seguía vivo y muerto y cruz,
con las rígidas alas negras
abiertas encima del agua:
seguía como un garfio cruel
clavado a la sal de las rocas
y de tantos golpes de cólera,
de tanto verde y fuego y furia,
de los poderes reunidos
en el silbante litoral
él parecía la amenaza:
él era la cruz y la horca:
la noche clavada en la cruz, 
la agonía de las tinieblas:
pero de pronto huyó en el cielo,
voló como una flecha negra
y subió cíclico volando
con su traje de nieve negra,
con pausa de estrella o de nave.
Y sobre el desorden del mar
—dentelladas de mar y frío—
voló voló voló voló
su ecuación pura en el espacio.

Cormorant

translated from Spanish by Gregorio Doblehablante

Crucified on the rock,
A motionless cross of black feathers,
There it remained obstinate and contorted. 
The sun beat down like a horse
On the rocks along the coast: 
Its hooves unleashed
A million raging sparks,
A million drops from the sea
And the crucified aviator,
did not blink on his cross: 
the wave swelled and gave birth:
the rock trembled as it emerged:
the foam whispered softly
and there like a dark man hanging,
the cormorant remains dead,
the cormorant remains alive,
the cormorant remains alive and dead and cross
with the rigid black wings,
opened above the water: 
remains like a cruel hook
latched to the salt of the rocks,
and despite so many angry hits,
and despite so much life and fire and fury,
despite the reunited powers, 
On the howling coast,
He seemed threatening;
He was the cross and the noose,
the night nailed to the cross,
the agony of darkness, 
but suddenly he fled to the sky, 
flew like a black arrow,
spiralled upwards,
with his suit of black snow, 
with the pause of stars or ships.
And above the unruly waters
—bites of cold and sea— 
he flew flew flew flew
tracing his pure equation in space.

Note on Translation

"Cormorán" was published in Neruda's book Arte de pájaros (Bird’s art). During the fall semester of 2014, we undertook this translating task as an opportunity to face the polysemantic nature of all languages. In that sense, we submit these translations as the work of a collective author named Gregorio Doblehablante.

GREGORIO DOBLEHABLANTE (“Gregory DoubleSpeak”) is the pseudonym of a collective author group consisting of five undergraduates and two graduate student supervisors. The included translations are collective projects done in Casa Hispana, a Modern Language Program that takes place in Gregory College House, a student residence at the University of Pennsylvania. Casa Hispana is a language program designed to help residents in Gregory College House and students throughout campus to improve their speaking skills in Spanish. It is also a place of encounter where students can learn more about Latin American, Latino, and Hispanic cultures.