Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator

Poems

Lyrics
Translations
Contact
Home

To José María Palacio

Palacio, my dear friend,
is spring already
covering the poplar branches
by the river and the roads? On the plain
of the upper Douro, spring comes late,
but it’s so soft and lovely when it arrives!

Do the old elms
have some new leaves?

Even though the acacias are still bare
and the mountain tops clad in snow.

Mount Moncayo up there, rosy and white,
so beautiful against the sky of Aragon!

Are brambles coming into flower
among the grey stones,
and white daisies
among the herbs?

Storks will already be landing
on those church steeples.

There will be green wheat
and brown mules in the sown fields,
and labourers sowing late crops
in the April rain. Bees are already
feeding on rosemary and thyme.

Are plum trees in blossom? Are there still violets?

For sure there will be poachers
with partridge decoys under their
long cloaks. Palacio, my dear friend,

are the riversides still full of nightingales?

When the first lilies
and the first roses are in the gardens,
on a blue evening, walk up to El Espino,
To El Espino up on high, where she lies under the earth…


Some notes on the poem:

Machado's wife, Leonor, died of tuberculosis on the 1st August 1912 and was buried in the cemetery called El Espino (Hawthorn) above the town of Soria. Machado had known her since she was thirteen years old, they married when she was fifteen and he was thirty-five. The poem is addressed to José María Palacio who was the editor of the Tierra Soriana newspaper; his wife was Leonor's first cousin. The poem was written by Machado in Baeza on the 29th April, 1913, in the first spring after Leonor's death. The photo below was taken in 1910.

Leonor, wife of Antonio Machado

The Douro (Duero in Spanish) is one of the main rivers in Spain. It flows
from its source in Soria province across northern-central Spain and
Portugal until it reaches the sea at Porto.

The Douro at Soria

The Moncayo massif

A José María Palacio

Palacio, buen amigo,
¿está la primavera
vistiendo ya las ramas de los chopos
del río y los caminos? En la estepa
del alto Duero, Primavera tarda,
¡pero es tan bella y dulce cuando llega!...

¿Tienen los viejos olmos
algunas hojas nuevas?

Aún las acacias estarán desnudas
y nevados los montes de las sierras.

¡Oh mole del Moncayo blanca y rosa,
allá, en el cielo de Aragón, tan bella!

¿Hay zarzas florecidas
entré las grises peñas,
y blancas margaritas
entre la fina hierba?

Por esos campanarios
ya habrán ido llegando las cigüeñas.

Habrá trigales verdes,
y mulas pardas en las sementeras,
y labriegos que siembran los tardíos
con las lluvias de abril. Ya las abejas
libarán del tomillo y el romero.

¿Hay ciruelos en flor? ¿Quedan violetas?

Furtivos cazadores, los reclamos
de la perdiz bajo las capas luengas,
no faltarán. Palacio, buen amigo,

¿tienen ya ruiseñores las riberas?

Con los primeros lirios
y las primeras rosas de las huertas,
en una tarde azul, sube al Espino,
al alto Espino donde está su tierra...

For more translations of poems by Antonio Machado, go to Translations.

 Translations
© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved