Hoy como ayer, mañana como hoy,

In this poem by Becquer life is a perpetual dentist’s waiting-room or an eternity of waiting for Godot (100 years or so before Samuel Beckett came up with that idea). There is no hope, no prospect of improvement or progress, but you have to keep going, put one foot in front of the other and live one day after the next. Bleak, yes, but I think we all have these moments of wading through mud and just knowing we have to keep going.

This is not quite the theme I would have expected from a Romantic poet, which makes it even more interesting.

Today is like yesterday, tomorrow will be like today…

Hoy como ayer, mañana como hoy…

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

LVI

Hoy como ayer, mañana como hoy,

¡y siempre igual!

Un cielo gris, un horizonte eterno

y andar… andar.

Moviéndose a compás como una estúpida

máquina el corazón:

la torpe inteligencia del cerebro

dormida en un rincón.

El alma, que ambiciona un paraíso,

buscándole sin fe;

fatiga sin objeto, ola que rueda

ignorando por qué.

Voz que incesante con el mismo tono

canta el mismo cantar,

gota de agua monótona que cae

y cae sin cesar.

Así van deslizándose los días

unos de otros en pos,

hoy lo mismo que ayer… y todos ellos

sin gozo ni dolor.

¡Ay! ¡a veces me acuerdo suspirando

del antiguo sufrir!

¡Amargo es el dolor; pero siquiera

padecer es vivir!

From <http://www.badosa.com/bin/obra.pl?id=p110-20>

Five things I like about this poem?

  1. The sense of immobility in movement, in space and time – yesterday, today, tomorrow, all the same. And walking, keeping on walking in a monotonously grey sky towards a flat horizon
  2. Man’s consciousness as an unthinking machine, repeating the same acts, the same gestures, his intelligence suspended
  3. The rhythm of one long line, followed by one short line, repeated from beginning to end
  4. The glimmer of hope and possible exit from the karmic wheel, hinted at by that “siquiera” of the penultimate line
  5. I’m not sure there is a fifth thing…

The Poetry Dude

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