Today’s poem is from Rosalia de Castro, Spanish, post-Romantic, writing sometimes in Castilian, sometimes in Galician, a fine poet from the latter half of the nineteenth century. She wrote poems on nature, love and faith. This poem is called “Hora tras hora, dia tras dia”, and, as suggested by the title is a reflection on the passage of time and how we relate to it. Take the time to read it and let your impressions soak into your soul…
HORA TRAS HORA, DÍA TRAS DÍA
Hora tras hora, día tras día,
Entre el cielo y la tierra que quedan
Como torrente que se despeña
Pasa la vida.
Devolvedle a la flor su perfume
Después de marchita;
De las ondas que besan la playa
Y que una tras otra besándola expiran
Recoged los rumores, las quejas,
Y en planchas de bronce grabad su armonía.
Tiempos que fueron, llantos y risas,
Negros tormentos, dulces mentiras,
¡Ay!, ¿en dónde su rastro dejaron,
En dónde, alma mía?
The poem begins with an evocation of the inevitable passage of time, relentlessly moving forward like flood waters taking our life ever onwards towards its conclusion. That is something we rarely think about against the bustle of everyday life, but it is a spur to taking stock on refocussing on what is important to us. And the next several lines are indeed a reminder to savour experience and get the most out of it, whether it be the scent of a flower, or the sounds of waves breaking on a beach. These smells and sounds will fade and die away, but they can live in on the memories of our experience and become part of us as we live our lives. The poem ends with a question – what happened to the past, its tears and joys, is torments and deceptions – the answer must be in our own souls, in our memories in our experiences. These make us who we are.
This poem, besides being a thing of beauty in itself, is a reminder to be open to experience, to acknowledge our surroundings and the language of our senses, and build a richer inner life. I will do my best.
As an aside, for anyone visiting Spain, or already there, Rosalia de Castro’s house is set up as a museum, it is very pretty, has a beautiful garden, and is well worth a visit. Details here: http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/museos/coruna_a/casa-museo_de_rosalia_de_castro.htm
The Poetry Dude