Poetry by Rosalía de Castro: “Dos Palomas” (The Two Doves)

Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885) was a Spanish Romantic poet who is recognized as the most outstanding modern writer in the Galician language. Australian writer John H. Reid, who is affiliated with our Winning Writers contest resource website, also happens to be an expert on de Castro and introduced me to her work. He kindly shares his translation of her poem “Dos Palomas” below. Apologies if the accent marks in the Spanish version don’t appear properly in your browser.

Dos palomas
Rosalía de Castro

Dos palomas yo vi que se encontraron
cruzando los espacios
y al resbalar sus alas se tocaron…

Cual por magia tal vez, al roce leve
las dos se estremecieron,
y un dulce encanto, indefinible y breve,
en sus almas sintieron.

Y torciendo su marcha en un momento
al contemplarse solas,
se mecieron alegres en el viento
como un cisne en las olas.

Juntáronse y volaron
unidas tiernamente,
y un mundo nuevo a su placer buscaron
y otro más puro ambiente.

Y le hallaron al fin, y el nido hicieron
en blanda cama de azucena y rosas,
y en ella se adurmieron
con las libres y blancas mariposas.

Y al despertar sus picos se juntaron,
y en la aurora luciente
sus caricias de amor se retrataron
como sombra riente.

Y en nubes de oro y de zafir bogaban
cual ondulante nave
en la tranquila mar, y se arrullaban
cual céfiro süave.

Juntas las dos al declinar del día
cansadas se posaban,
y aun los besos el aura recogía
que en sus picos jugaban.

Y así viviendo inmarchitables flores
sus días coronaron,
y nunca los amargos sinsabores
sus delicias turbaron.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

¡Felices esas aves que volando
libres en paz por el espacio corren
de purísima atmósfera gozando!

****

The Two Doves
rendered from the Spanish of Rosalía de Castro
by John H. Reid

I saw two doves flying in the sky
when suddenly their wings touched
and they were momentarily joined together…

A light touch it’s true, perhaps by magic,
but the two trembled. They were shaken,
and a sweet charm, brief but indefinable,
infused their souls.

Suddenly their two single flights
became twisted into one,
and they were happily rocked in the wind
like a swan on the waves.

Joined together, they flew tenderly attached.
To their pleasure, a visionary world opened,
and a more totally captivating environment.

At last, at the end of their flight,
they jointly find their nest
in a soft bed of lilies and roses,
where they sleep together,
free and white, like butterflies.

At dawn, they raise their beaks together,
and in the shining light of the new day,
their loving caresses make a bright,
cheerful parasol over their nest.

In clouds of gold and sapphire,
they row a rolling ship
in a tranquil sea,
and coo gently
in the day’s
cool breeze.

Together the two exchange
the honey in their beaks.

And thus their days were capped
in these living, unfading flowers,
and bitter disappointments never
disturbed their delights.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Happy those peaceful birds flying free
enjoying the expanse and purity
of a virginal atmosphere!

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