Rafael Alberti’s “The Envious Angel” in Three Languages

Also in Translations:

Rafael Alberti’s “The  Envious Angel” in Three Languages
Nina Kossman. "Dark Angel"
Rafael Alberti's "The Envious Angel" in Three Languages

 
Defend yourself! They’re woodcutters,
those whistling axes
moving my tongue.

Watch out!
Sickles of evil winds
biting my soul.

You,
tower of distrust.
You, tower of gold, greed.
Wall up your windows.

Better yet, look.

Men devastated, still,
in the fallen cities.
Ask them.

Better yet, listen.

A sky, green with envy,
overflows from my mouth and sings.

I, a sky…

Neither look nor listen. I…
Wall up your windows.*
 
 
*

ЗАВИСТЛИВЫЙ АНГЕЛ

Защищайся! — это дровосеки
свистящими топорами
двигают моим языком.

Берегись!
Это серпы злых ветров
кромсают мою душу.

Ты,
крепость недоверия,
Ты, крепость из золота и жадности.
Зашторь окна.

Или нет, смотри.

Опустошенные, неподвижные люди
в разрушенных городах.
У них спроси.

Или нет, слушай.

Небо, зеленое от зависти,
льётся из моего рта и поет.

Я, небо …

Нет, не слушай и не смотри. Я…
Зашторь окна.**
 
 
*

The original

EL ÁNGEL ENVIDIOSO

Leñadoras son, ¡defiéndete!,
esas silbadoras hachas
que mueven mi lengua.

Hoces de los vientos malos,
¡alerta!,
que muerden mi alma.

Torre de desconfianza,
tú.
Tú, torre del oro, avara.
Ciega las ventanas.

O no, mira.

Hombres arrasados, fijos
por las ciudades taladas.
Pregúntales.

O no, escucha.

Un cielo, verde de envidia,
rebosa mi boca y canta.

Yo, un cielo…

Ni escuches ni mires. Yo…
Ciega las ventanas.
 

*English translation by Jose A. Elgorriaga & Martin Paul from “100 Poems by Rafael Alberti” (San Francisco: Kosmos, 1981)

**Russian translation by Nina Kossman

About the Author:

Rafael Alberti
Rafael Alberti
Spain

Rafael Alberti (16 December 1902 – 28 October 1999) was a Spanish poet. He is considered one of the greatest literary figures of the so-called Silver Age of Spanish poetry.

About the Translator:

Nina Kossman
Nina Kossman
New York, USA

Nina Kossman’s nine books include three books of poems, two books of short stories, an anthology she edited for Oxford University Press, and a novel. Her work has been translated from English into French, Spanish, Greek, Japanese, Hebrew, Persian, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Danish, and Dutch. Her Russian work was published in Russian periodicals in and outside of Russia. She is a recipient of an NEA fellowship, UNESCO/PEN Short Story award, grants from the Onassis Foundation, the Foundation for Hellenic Culture, etc.

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Rafael Alberti Nina Kossman Рафаэль Альберти Нина Косман
Bookshelf
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