Category Archives: Quotes

Pablo Neruda, sonnet 81

I came across the English lyrics to “And now you’re mine“, sung by Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts in their “Il Postino” album. After some searching, I learned about Pablo Neruda, and the original Spanish lyrics of this song. It turned out to be a sonnet from his “Cien Sonetos de Amor” collection:

Ya eres mía. Reposa con tu sueño en mi sueño.
Amor, dolor, trabajos, deben dormir ahora.
Gira la noche sobre sus invisibles ruedas
y junto a mí eres pura como el ámbar dormido.

Ninguna más, amor, dormirá con mis sueños.
Irás, iremos juntos por las aguas del tiempo.
Ninguna viajará por la sombra conmigo,
sólo tú, siempreviva, siempre sol, siempre luna.

Ya tus manos abrieron los puños delicados
y dejaron caer suaves signos sin rumbo,
tus ojos se cerraron como dos alas grises,

mientras yo sigo el agua que llevas y me lleva:
la noche, el mundo, el viento devanan su destino,
y ya no soy sin ti sino sólo tu sueño.

The English lyrics linked above had some translations that I thought could be better, so here is my attempt into English, trying to keep it natural. Note that I had some trouble with the last line, but I hope it is an acceptable translation.

Now you’re mine. Rest dreaming in my dream.
Love, pain, and work should all sleep now.
The night spins its invisible wheels
and you are laying next to me, pure like a sleeping amber.

No one else, my love, will sleep with my dreams.
You will, we will go together through the waters of time.
No one else will travel through the shadows with me,
only you, immortal, forever my sun and my moon.

Your hands have already loosened their delicate fists
and softly dropped their drifting signs,
your eyes have closed, like a pair of silver wings,

while I follow the water that you carry, carrying me:
the night, the world, and the wind spin out their destiny,
and I am with you, simply as your dream.

As ‘t myn tiid is

Gurbe Douwstra is a Frisian musician from Drachten, the Netherlands. I ran into one of his songs on a social network, and it touched me. This is because I have lived the first half of my life in Friesland, a province in the Netherlands, with its own officially recognized language, which we proudly call Frysk. While I don’t speak it, it is still close to me.

By no means am I going anywhere – I like to think that I still have the vigor of life in me. But as the text is beautiful, I wanted to share it with those unfamiliar to Frysk. So here is my attempt to translate his song “as ‘t myn tiid is” from Frysk into English and Japanese.

Gurbe Douwstra's song in Frisian
Gurbe Douwstra’s song in Frisian

When it’s my time

When you miss me, have a need of me
or look for guidance, when you daren’t go further
then close your eyes, and stand still for a while
look in your heart, and know that I’ll be there

Don’t be sad, it is as it goes
all that lives, will one day pass away
But just believe me, I mean it sincerely
no single life, long or short, is for naught

So when it’s my time, grieve not too long for me
I’m not far away, I’ll always be near
I’m in your being, I’m in your blood … you’re my blood
Never forget this, my child, and everything will be alright





Carpe diem

I was watching an episode of Vikings, and there was a scene where King Ecbert was reciting a Latin poem to his daughter-in-law. It said:

Don’t ask, we may never know, Leuconoe, what the Gods plan for you and me. Leave the Chaldees to parse the sentence of the stars. Of expectations, life’s short. Even while we talk, time, hateful, runs a mile. Don’t trust tomorrow’s bough for fruit. Pluck this. Here. Now.

In my curiosity I looked for the original text, and found it was one of Horace’s odes, to be specific Ode 1-11. Its full text is here:

Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. Ut melius, quicquid erit, pati!
Seu plures hiemes, seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam
(quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum). Sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas. Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Now, the translation in the Vikings was probably meant to be poetic, and therefore slightly different. Also, the last few sentences in the translation refer to the last two lines of the poem, so the middle body has been cut out.

Here is how I would have translated Horace’s poem (with a little help from a few other sources):

Don’t ask, for we don’t know, what ending the gods
will give me or you, Leuconoë, nor try to make sense
of the Babylonian numbers. How much better it is
to accept it, whatever it will be. Whether Jupiter gives us
many winters to come, or whether this is the last one
(currently weakening the shores across the Tyrrhene
sea). Be wise, strain the wine, and for life is short
cut back on your far-flung hopes. As we talk, so flies away
our hateful age. Seize the day, with little trust in tomorrow.