Nieto’s “Romance of Song and Sorrow”

The master of Cuzco’s verse, Luís (El Cholo) Nieto Miranda, writes of the ways love can exalt and leave one in despair. In English the two sentiments seem contradictory, but they are united in Nieto’s world in a culture that seeks joy and happiness all the time there is sorrow. The two are joined like eternal twins and cannot be escaped, just like light and shadow, sound and silence. Cuzco Eats presents here a translation of Nieto´s “Romance de canto y pena.”

Song and Sorrow
Song and Sorrow

Romance of Song and Sorrow

Under a sky of bells
you walk on poppies
in a flame of stars
and butterflies’ wind.

To dawn’s sweet chant
a rain of petals
carpets your path
guarded by doves.

From a lilly’s silence
the violets call you.
(The guitars ignited
with the larks’ song.)

By your burning body
breezes dance and cry.
In your sleeping tresses
the shadows converse.

A sky full of swallows
plays in your eyelashes.
A songbird in my breast
calls for you every hour.

It’s better you love me
before the roses die.
Already fall’s in my garden
browning all green leaves.

This love has no cure
like the sorrow it cries.
Love that suffers and sings,
love that laughs and sobs.

Luís Nieto Miranda
(translated by David Knowlton)

El Cholo Nieto, The Poet ( 2010_11_01_archive.html)
El Cholo Nieto, The Poet ( 2010_11_01_archive.html)

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