Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Sea Turtle/ La Tortuga de mar

(dedicated to José Roberto Bermúdez Pérez)

                                             Stretching his neck
                                             the turtle waits too...
                                             the year's first day

                                             (Kobayashi Issa, tr. by David G. Lanoue)

Through the night a deluge
like Deucalion's or Noah's--
wind wreaking havoc
on the corrugated roof,
torrential rain flooding
the street.

In morning calm of the beach
a huge and magnificent
sea turtle, prone and stranded
on the sand, gray-green
and motionless like
intricately carved stone,
waiting patiently for Fu Xi
to read the cracks on her back
and inaugurate the new universe.

E. A. Costa 19 December, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

La tortuga de mar

(Dedicado al estimado José Roberto Bermúdez Pérez)

                                             Estira el cuello la tortuga--
                                             ella también está esperando
                                             el primer día del año

                                             (Kobayashi Issa, tr. EAC from Lanoue's version)

Por la noche un diluvio
como los días de Deucalión o Noé,
con viento que causa estragos
en el techo corrugado
y lluvia que inunda la calle.

En la calma de la mañana
una tortuga de mar magnífica
y enorme, prona sobre la arena,
del color gris-verde e inmóvil
como la piedra minuciosamente tallada,
espera pacientemente a que Fu Xi
lea las fisuras de su carapacho
e inaugure el nuevo universo.

tr. E.A.C.
N.B: Fu Xi or Fu-Hsi (伏羲), counted as the first of the
Three Sovereigns by the Chinese, according to one account,
invented the Eight Trigrams (pa-kua),which are the basis
of the I-Ching, observing the back of a turtle that
emerged from a river. Both Deucalion and Noah,
merely incidentally, were preceded many centuries
by the story of Utanapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh,
who rescued all life on earth from the Deluge
in his great ark--a story itself preceded by Sumerian
references as well.

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