Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Haschisch

We are glad to present the English version of Haschisch, a poem by Jose Marti.
The poem was translated from the Spanish original by Manuel A. Tellechea, specially for the readers of The Black Sheep of Exile.

(thanks, Mr. T!)

Haschisch

The Arab, when he weeps,
Implores the consolation of fantastic haschisch.
Haschisch, a plant of mystery,
Earth's wondrous poetess,
Who knows the shadows of a beauteous night,
And sings and paints all that the night enshrines.

The troubadour, transported, takes his lyre:
The idle Arab inhales his haschisch.

The Arab does well, because this plant,
Inhaled, perfumes the air, dulls pain and makes him sing.

Haschisch lulls the Moor to sleep
And in his dream he hears her sing,
And when he wakens, in his ears
Celestial harmonies still ring.

The Arab lives 'neath many heavens,
And in each and all, there is love. — For without love
The sky would lose its brilliant blue,
And the sad flowers their splendid hues.

And goodly haschisch knows it,
And never sings a mournful dirge.

Haschisch lays out a feast in the brain,
Awakens there fine images.
It paints the gentle swaying of the brook
And knows the morning's song.
This Arab plant is a troubadour
Without regrets, who never saddens, never cries.
It knows the mystery of the blue of heaven;
It knows the murmur of the quiet river;
It knows the stars and comets; it knows how to console;
It knows eternity, and it knows my heart!
[Eternity itself it knows, and it knows my heart!]

The Arab is a wise man:
He makes the earth pay for earth's wrongs.

And so, the inflamed vigor of my powerful spirit,
Rages within me, a slave oppressed,
And raises storms inside my rebel brow.

And so, my spirit, enamoured of the invisible,
And craving what it cannot see,
Burns and devours me, and I become
At once a vulture and proud Prometheus!

Oh, love of an Arab woman! Awaken
My miserable spirit trapped in this lifeless prison:
Your forehead place against my maddened forehead:
A woman's kiss, at the cell door!
Haschisch, in my pain, come to my lips!

José Martî
1875