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Te dehojé, como una rosa,
para verte tu alma,
y no la vi.

Mas todo en torno
– horizontes de tierras y de mares –,
todo, hasta el infinito,
se colmó de una esencia
inmensa y viva.

– Juan Ramon Jiminez

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I took off petal after petal, as if you were a rose,
in order to see your soul,
and I didn’t see it.

However, everything around –
horizons of fields and oceans –
everything, even what was infinite,
was filled with a perfume,
immense and living.

– Translation by Robert Bly

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My own attempt at translation:

I stripped you,
like I would strip a rose of its leaves,
in order to see your soul

And I did not see it. But everything around –
horizons of earth and of ocean – everything, out to infinity
was filled with your perfume
immense and alive.

Mine is a less beautiful way. But I really think there is something specific in the choice of “dehoje” in the first bit. The word is literally ‘to de-leaf,’ maybe best translated as “defoliate.” This seems a very specific choice – the poet is not saying he tore away the PETALS of the rose, but its LEAVES. I like the idea that a rose’s soul is found not in the heart of the flower, but under its leaves….this implies that the soul of the rose is the thorn….That said, I adore the translation on “esencia” as “perfume.” Gorgeous, gorgeous – it could have been “essence,” which is much more abstract and less haunting than perfume.

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Poetry by Juan Ramon Jiminez.
Translation by Robert Bly.
Kindly made public by As It Ought to Be.

http://asitoughttobe.com/2010/03/13/saturday-poetry-series-presents-juan-ramo…

Photo by Kyle Griffith, 2001. Accessed through the Cities and Buildings Database of the University of Washington Digital Collection.

http://128.95.104.14/buildingsweb/index.html

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http://evanflorybarnes.com/about

“As the insanity of the collective mind surfaces, we will be moved to protest. First and foremost, for effective action one must realize their connection to this insanity and its manifestations within themselves. This realization is not a place of resignation, but truly a place of power. It is okay to be angry, in fact that is the first step. And it is okay to feel sadness. As sadness evolves it becomes compassion, and as compassion opens, the Love that has no opposition emerges. When you stand in the beauty of your humanity in the face of dysfunction, that must be the place of “protest”. And then it is not really protest, it is mirroring the beauty an establishment can no longer control. LOVE TO YOU ALL.”

 

(The photograph is from the website of The Teaching, one of Mr. Flory-Barnes’ many musical endeavors: http://theteachingmusic.com/about)

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