De Paso

I’m running out the door to catch a dress rehearsal of Elliott Carter’s new horn concerto.

DE PASO


El tiempo no pasó:
Aquí esta.
Pasamos nosotros.

Sólo nosotros somos el pasado.

Aves de paso que pasaron
y ahora,
poco a poco,
se mueren.


IN PASSING


Time did not pass by:
Here it is.
We passed by.

Only we are the past.

Migrating birds that passed overhead
and now,
little by little,
are passing away.

—José Emilio Pacheco,
trans. Cynthia Steele

And another:

LA MAGIA DE LA CRÍTICA


Para mí para muchos es lo mejor del mundo.
No cesaremos nunca de alabarlo.
Jamás terminará la gratitud
por su música incomparable.

En cambio para Strindberg todo Mozart
es una cacofonía de gorjeos cursis.

La variedad del gusto,
la magia de la crítica.


THE MAGIC OF CRITICISM


For me and many others he is the best in the world.
We will never tire of singing his praises.
Our gratitude
for his incomparable music is infinite.

For Strindberg, on the other hand, all of Mozart
is a cacophany of pretentious warbling.

The variety of taste,
the magic of criticism.

—José Emilio Pacheco,
trans. Cynthia Steele

(Both poems found in this highly recommended volume.)

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