newritings

May 22, 2009

Hamba Kahle – comrade Benedetti

Filed under: poetry,some of my favorite things — newritings @ 9:47 pm

Uruguayan poet and writer of over 80 books, Mario Benedetti died on 17 May 2009, and he was my partner Marta’s favourite writer.

The 88 year old Benedetti of Italian parents was or will always be a legend as his poems were turned into songs, imortalising him whilst he was alive and it is likely to continue. He was deeply loved not only in his country but in the Spanish speaking world. Benedetti lived in exile from 1973-1983 during Uruguay’s military regime.

There is a brilliant tribute of the man and writer and the fact that he is seldom translated into english by Terence Clark on an equally  brilliant site: http://www.redroom.com/blog, where I borrowed this poem. (below)

The poet, Alicante 1998

The poet, Alicante 1998

Bandoneón
Mario Benedetti

Me jode confesarlo
pero la vida es también un bandoneón
hay quien sostiene que lo toca dios
pero yo estoy seguro de que es Troilo
ya que dios apenas toca el arpa
y mal

fuere quien fuere lo cierto es
que nos estira en un solo ademán purísimo
y luego nos reduce de a poco a casi nada
y claro nos arranca confesiones
quejas que son clamores
vértebras de alegría
esperanzas que vuelven
como los hijos pródigos
y sobre todo como los estribillos

me jode confesarlo
porque lo cierto es que hoy en día
pocos
quieren ser tango
la natural tendencia
es a ser rumba o mambo o chachachá
o merengue o bolero o tal vez casino
en último caso valsecito o milonga
pasodoble jamás
pero cuando dios o Pichuco o quien sea
toma entre sus manos la vida bandoneón
y le sugiere que llore o regocije
uno siente el tremendo decoro de ser tango
y se deja cantar y ni se acuerda
que allá espera
el estuche.

Bandoneón

I’m fucked, confessing it,
but life too is a bandoneón
there are some who hold that God plays it
but I’m sure that it’s Troilo
since God can hardly play the harp,
and that badly

whoever it is, the one sure thing is
that it stretches us out in a proper pure solo
and then brings us down to so little almost nothing
and for sure drags confessions from us
clamoring complaints
the vertebra of happiness
hopes that return like prodigal sons
and above all like refrains

I’m fucked confessing it
because for sure, right now, today
few
want to be tango
the natural tendency
is to be a rumba or mambo or chachachá
or merengue or bolero or maybe casino
and at the very last a little waltz or milonga,
and a pasadoble? never
but when God or Pichuco or whoever
takes in his hands the bandoneón life
and suggests to it that it weep or cheer
you feel the tremendous decorum of being tango
you just go ahead and sing and you would never agree
that there awaits
your casket.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Hamba Kahle – comrade Benedetti […]

    Pingback by Daily News About Poetry : A few links about Poetry - Friday, 22 May 2009 15:35 — May 22, 2009 @ 11:06 pm | Reply


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