Travesía del Ferry Brooklyn (4)

Versión castellana del poema “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (1856) de Walt Whitman
English text at
Spanish Interpretation by JMN

[Translator’s note: In what’s coming, I’ve preferred preterite tense over imperfect tense where the speaker gives vent to a rapture of connection transcending space-time, indeed his own mortality, with citizenry to come; he looks back at his own actions and emotions in an imagined future, evoking the parallelism with theirs. Though his actions and states of mind are repetitive — “many and many a time,” “I was refresh’d,” etc. — and therefore have imperfective aspect normally in Spanish, I conceive of the speaker as projectively lumping his life (with all its repetition) into a terminated and concluded dimension — elegiac hindsight from anticipated afterlife, so to speak — and therefore better conveyed by the preterite. I have open ears if a Spanish reader disagrees with my tense choice.]

Roughly one-third of part 3 follows. Remember, there are 9 parts.

(3 begun)
It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,
Para nada sirve, ni tiempo ni lugar — ni para nada la distancia,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Estoy con vosotros, hombres y mujeres de una generación, o de aquí a tantas generaciones,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Igual lo que sentís al contemplar el río y el cielo, eso lo sentí yo,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Igual que entre vosotros cualquiera es miembro de una muchedumbre viva, yo fui miembro de una muchedumbre,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d,
Igual que os refrescáis con la alegría del rio y su flujo brillante, yo me refresqué,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood yet was hurried,
Igual que quedáis parados y apoyados en la barra, y no obstante os precipitáis con la veloz corriente, yo me paré y me precipité,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick-stemm’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.
Igual que contempláis los innumerables mástiles de barcos y las pipas de cañón grueso de los buques de vapor, yo contemplé.

(c) 2021 JMN. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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