Juan Breva

Juan Breva tenía
cuerpo de gigante
y voz de niña.
Nada como su trino.
Era la misma
Pena cantando
detrás de una sonrisa.
Evoca los limonares
de Málaga la dormida,
y hay en su llanto dejos
de sal marina.
Como Homero cantó
ciego.  Su voz tenía,
algo de mar sin luz
y naranja exprimida.

(from Federico Garcia Lorca, Poema del Cante Jondo, Colección Huerta de San Vicente No12, Editorial Comares, Fundación Federico García Lorca)


Juan Breva had the body of a giant
and the voice of a girl.

His song was like nothing else,
like pain beneath a smile.

It stirred from sleep
the lemon groves of Málaga

and held in its weeping
the salt of the air.

The blind man sang like Homer.
He had that voice, that something

in it of the clouded sea
and the dry husk of an orange.

(shortlisted for Lorca in England International Translation Competition (2011)  Listen here)


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