Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Laboring to Share from the Heart

One of my very favorite movie scenes is from A Walk in the Clouds. In the movie, Keanu Reeves is an American on his way to marry a girl from a wealthy, aristocratic Mexican family. Their relationship is too tangled to explain now. So I'll simplify it: They get into a fight and are sadly estranged from each other for a time. Anthony Quinn, who plays her grandfather, steps in and gives the young American the following advice from his Latin heart:

'Words are a waste of time. Men and women cannot talk about their differences. Women, are creatures of the heart. I know just what you need.'

He proceeds to enlist musicians, ply the young man with wine and teach him a Spanish love song with which to serenade his lady. He knows that this will soften her heart. (By the way, the strategy works). The old man, tipsy from too much wine, tries to share the Spanish heart to the American. He can only do that by percentages. Keanu tries to absorb the meaning while the Mariachis sing the love song.

The old man, almost in tears cries, "Have you ever heard anything more beautiful in your life?" (I love this, because I get this way often)

The song was beautiful, like so many aspects of Latin-American culture. I found myself wishing that the young man could experience it more deeply.

As a passionate Colombian-American married to truly wonderful Irish-American, I often long to REALLY share my culture with him. Recently, while grieving the emptying nest, by playing a beautiful bolero and crying; my husband, Michael, wanted to understand. So,I played the ballad for him, and tried to impart it's full meaning: I SO wanted to share its beauty with him. But I knew that the literal translation wasn't reaching him.

So yesterday, I undertook it's interpretation. It truly was a labor of love. Communicating the full meaning, emotions, imagery, and meter seemed too daunting a task. (I'd never tried it) The fact that I accomplished this feat was nothing short of miraculous.

Here's a link my sister found where you can hear the melody. The lyrics varied a little from the version I know.
I offer you it's rendering in English, from my pen. In Spanish it's called 'El Camino de la Vida" I think I've captured its full meaning, let me know.:

The Byways of Life

Swift like the rushing wind,
The days and nights passed
That marked our infancy;
While God prepared us.
An angel watched with care,
While we grew ready
For all that lay ahead,
on this life’s journey

And then we entered youth;
A time of learning
The games, the friends, our school,
Our hearts’ first yearnings,
Ours soul began to show,
What we were made of,
Our hearts began to dream,
and form a vision of
Our life’s ambition

And springing forth as from a brook,
The honeyed days of our first love,
Our soul just soared not knowing that
Illusions tend to disappear
And we sadly and resignedly, discovered
That our lives are made of ,
Happiness and sorrow.

And later when we joined as one,
Together, living for our cause,
We formed ourselves a nest of love,
A refuge that we called our home.
Thus began another season of our lifetimes:
A woman and a man, united by their faith,
And their ideals.

The fruit, born of our love,
When Heaven blessed us;
Brought joy and happiness,
With just their presence.
For whom can you love most?
If not your children?
They are the legacy,
Of our existence.

And later with our hearts,
and with our toil,
We work to give them all
that life requires.
So when they come of age,
They will to heights rise.
And have the happiness,
Security and bliss,
So dearly treasured.

And springing forth as from a brook,
The honeyed days of our first love,
Our soul just soared not knowing that
Illusions tend to disappear
And we sadly and resignedly, discovered
That our lives are made of,
Happiness and sorrow.

And later, when they leave the home;
Some leave and never say goodbye,
The coldness of our solitude,
Weighs painfully inside our hearts.

And that’s why, my treasured love that I must ask you
The way I ask the Lord,
That if we reach old age,
You’ll still be with me.

What a song!
Have you ever heard anything more beautiful in your life?


Karen O said...

That is very lovely.

videtich said...

y ahora, donde esta en espanol? Quien la escribio? Que bonita! gracias :)
PBJ parent, Ann

cafeglover said...

PBJ, Karen O, Hola!
Thank you for your kind comments.

La version en Espanol se encuentra en el 'link' antes de las palabras en ingles.

Escuchela, que es verdaderamente linda.


Bread said...

What a lovely and poetic song. Do you have the lyrice that you used for your translation? Can you post them?

cafeglover said...

De prisa como el viento van pasando
los días y las noches de la infancia
un ángel nos depara sus cuidados
mientras sus manos tejen las distancias.

Después llegan los años juveniles,
los juegos, los amigos, el colegio
el alma ya define sus perfiles
y empieza el corazón de pronto a cultivar un sueño.

Y brotan como un manantial
las mieles del primer amor
el alma ya quiere volar
y vuela tras una ilusión
Y aprendemos que el dolor y la alegría
son la esencia permanente de la vida.

Y luego cuando somos dos
luchando por un ideal,
formamos un nido de amor,
refugio que se llama hogar,
y empezamos otra etapa del camino:
un hombre, una mujer, unidos por la fe y la esperanza.

Los frutos de la unión que Dios bendijo
alegran el hogar con su presencia.
¿A quién se quiere más sino a los hijos?
Son la prolongación de la existencia.

Después, con los esfuerzos y desvelos
para que no les falte nunca nada.
Para que cuando crezcan lleguen lejos
y puedan alcanzar esa felicidad tan anhelada.

Y luego cuando ellos se van,
algunos sin decir adiós,
el frío de la soledad,
golpea nuestro corazón,
es por eso amor mío que te pido:
Como le pido a Dios,
si llego a la viejes
que estés conmigo.

hermanita said...

As a latin american woman I truly appreciated how you captured the essence and deep passion in your translation. Many who translate lyrics, sadly, only convey empty words. My soul was stirred by your translation; igniting the deep emotion that the song elicits. You did a magnificent job! It was very moving. Thank you-

cafeglover said...

Thank you for the lovely comment.
I truly enjoyed the process and will translate another in the not too distant future.
Blessings to you!