When translation poems, it’s important that the power of the original words doesn’t get lost. The translation of “En paz” (by Amado Nervo) lead to “At peace.” You can decide if this is a good translation or not.
It’s not easy to translate poetry. You have to be careful that a rhyming poem doesn’t become a free verse. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what the original poet entended. In this case, there’s no problem. The poem “En paz” was well translated. The translation can be found on this website.
Who was Amado Nervo?
Amado Nervo or Juan Crisóstomo Ruiz de Nervo was born on August 27, 1870, in Tepic (Mexico). During his life, this journalist and educator would write some beautiful poems. Poems that are remembered in South America. Now we feel it is time, to share his beautiful work with the rest of the world.
The work of Nervo leans on metaphors. In his work, you can find a similarity with other poets like Edgar Allen Poe. This is mystical poetry at its best.
One of the most important reasons to start writing was the death of his brother. His brother Luis committed suicide when his wife died. Before this death, there was one more tragedy in the family, when his sister in law died. Death seemed to haunt this poet since he had to lose his father when he was only nine years old.
Nervo studied at the Colegio San Luis Gongaza and the Roman Catholic Seminary in Zamora. Here he studied Science, Philosophy and for a brief period, he studied Law.
During his study, he began to show interest in the mystical. Still, he had plans to become a priest. He eventually decided not to become one and start working as a lawyer. From there on he became a journalist and eventually a poet, before also becoming an international diplomat. He was the ambassador for Mexico in Argentina and Uruguay.
Nervo died at the age of 48 on May 24 1919. A few years before, in 1912, he lost his wife in 1912, who he deeply loved.
About this poem
The Spanish title for this poem is En paz. When translated directly, it becomes In peace. The poet isn’t in one peace, no he is at peace. At least, judging from this beautifully written poem. It is always difficult to translate poetry into another language.
Very near my sunset, I bless you, Life
because you never gave me neither unfilled hope
nor unfair work, nor undeserved sorrow.
Because I see at the end of my rough way
that I was the architect of my own destiny
and if I extracted the sweetness or the bitterness of things
it was because I put the sweetness or the bitterness in them
when I planted rose bushes I always harvested roses
Certainly, winter is going to follow my youth
But you didn’t tell me that May was eternal
I found without a doubt long my nights of pain
But you didn’t promise me only good nights
And in exchange I had some peaceful ones
I loved, I was loved, the sun caressed my face
Life, you owe me nothing, Life, we are at peace!