Beauty from Galicia

Stop with whatever you’re doing and read this beautiful poem written by Celso Emilio Ferreiro, a Galician writer! Unfortunately, I don’t understand Galician, but thankfully there is an English translation of the poem ‘Romance perdido de fin de ano’, taken from his book ‘Longa noite de pedra’. The poem doesn’t need much introduction, the beauty speaks for itself. So if you have 3 minutes, use that time to read this. I was immediately taken by the poem when I read it for the first time.

For the people at the Utrecht Conservatory: one of the composition students, Esteban Zapata Blanco, has composed a piece for chamber orchestra and female choir on this text! If you’re around on Sunday the 9th of April, swing by at the conservatory for an awesome (free!) concert at 14 ‘o clock. We will not only perform this piece but also other cool pieces from Stravinsky, Brahms, Holst and Kelder!

Right, off we go with the poem. Under the Galician original you can find the English translation, enjoy!


‘Pasa o tempo sen deterse,
río infindo de silencio,
río infindo, noite e día,
río infindo, branco e negro.
Nos seus muíños de día,
moe a fol do meu contento.
Nos seus muíños de noite,
meu corazón vai moendo.
Río longo estrelecido
que non ten fin nin comenzo.
Un muíño, prá saudade,
outro prá dor e pra o medo,
outro prás tristes lembranzas
das horas que xa morreron.
Horas que foron deixando
ronseles de amor no peito.
Os días tiñan un nome,
os nomes tiñan un senso.
Tempo de falar de neve,
tempo de decir os rezos,
tempo de pecha-los ollos,
tempo de rega-los eidos.
O pai falaba da guerra,
a nai poñía o comento,
o rapaz fitaba o mundo
cos ollos de asombro abertos.
¿Que foi das neves aquelas,
tépeda voz dos meus vellos?
¿Que foi das froles de antano,
ollos azules de neno?
Pasache ti, río infindo,
canle moura de silencio.
Pasache ti, agua escura,
!tódolo levache a eito!
Agora tanto me importa
estar lonxe ou estar perto,
pois anque vivo no mundo
teño a ialma no desterro.
Arriáda-las bandeiras,
pra min xa nada ten xeito.
Vencido, vou camiñando
sin saber qué rumbo levo.
Tódolos días son igoales,
nada agarro, en pouco creo,
ningunha cousa me apura,
non estou triste nin ledo,
e si me poño a cantar
hei de cantar como quero,
río infindo, noite e día,
río infindo, branco e negro:
Estreliña da fartura                                    
que dás tanta craridade:                            
foise o día, foise a noite,                 
foise a miña mocedade.’


‘Time goes without stop
infinite river of silence,
infinite river, night and day,
infinite river, black and white.
In their mills during the day,
mill the bellows of my happiness.
In their mills during the night,
my heart is milling.
Long river star-lighted,
which doesn’t have end neither beginning.
A mill, for the yearning
other for pain and for fear,
another for sad memories
of the hours that has died.
Hours that were leaving
trails of love in the chest.
Days used to have a name,
Names used to have a sense.
Time to speak about snow,
time to say the prays,
time to close the eyes,
time to irrigate the fields.
Dad used to speak of war,
mum used to comment it,
the child observes the world
with his astonished opened eyes.
What about those snow,
dense voice of my ancestors?
What about ancient flowers,
child’s blue eyes?
You passed, infinite river,
black canal of silence.
You passed, dark water
You took everything into fragments!
Now, I don’t mind being close or being far,
just because I live on the world
I have my soul in the exile.
Being the flags lowered,
nothing makes sense to me.
Defeated, I keep walking
without knowing my own way.
Every day seems to be the same,
I don’t grab anything,
I believe in some few things,
Anything makes me hurry up,
I’m not sad neither happy,
and if I start singing
I would sing as I´d like,
infinite river, night and day,
infinite river, black and white:
Little star of surfeit
that gives so much clarity
Day has gone, night has gone,
my youth has gone.’



Author: Nino Natroshvili

Violinist and student at the Utrecht Conservatory, the Netherlands.

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