Terra Negra / Black Land

Reposa del camí. Sota l’ull d’or,
el regne és infinit. A la planura
de calma i solitude, el vent s’adorm.

Riu amunt, entre murs de desert,
ve la barca del déu. Mil estendards
flamegen en els pals, radiants de sol.
Sacerdots remadors canten vells himnes
al senyor de la mort, mentre fereixen
el llot, lee aigües grasses.

Aquesta llum, la pau d’aquest llarg dia,
són teves, caminant, si l’ampla terra
del blat etern et crida pel teu nom.
 

Rest, pause on your journey: look,
under the sun’s gold eye,
a limitless kingdom.
The lulled breeze dozes
on a placid, solitary plain.

Upriver, between parallel desert walls,
the god’s vessel nears.
A thousand dazzling flags
flutter on its sun-struck masts.
Rowing priests chant antediluvian hymns
to death’s master, as their oars
strike mud, swelling waves.

This light, this livelong day’s tranquility
are yours, traveler, if the vast earth
of unending wheat
cries out your name.
 
 
 
Translated from Catalan by Cyrus Cassells
 
Salvador Espriu (1913-1985) was Catalan Spain’s leading contender for the Nobel Prize.