Kathleen Lee Translates Jamie Sabines

My friend Kathleen Lee writes prose–but here is her translation of a Jamie Sabines poem. This was done as a project in an SFCC Spanish class. You can find more by looking at Phil Levine’s translation of a book of Sabines’ poems – Tarumba – in a bilingual edition published by Sarabande.

La primera lluvia del año moja las calles,
abre el aire,
humedece mi sangre.
¡Me siento tan a gusto y tan triste, Tarumba,
viendo caer el agua desde quién sabe,
sobre tantos y tanto!
Ayúdame a mirar sin llorar,
ayúdame a llover yo mismo sobre mi corazón
para que crezca como la planta del chayote
o como la yerbabuena.
¡Amo tanto la luz adolescente
de esta mañana
y su tierna humedad!
¡Ayúdame, Tarumba, a no morirme,
a que el viento no desate mis hojas
ni me arranque de esta tierra alegre!

por Jaime Sabines

The first rain of the year drenches the streets,
unfurls the air,
freshens my blood.
I feel such ease and melancholy, Tarumba,
watching the rain fall from who knows where,
over so many and so much.
Help me to see without mourning,
help me to rain over my own heart
so that it grows like chayote
or yerbabuena.
I love so much the youthful light
of this morning
and its tender sultry air.
Help me, Tarumba, to not die,
don’t let the wind blow away my leaves
or drag me from this bright earth.

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