May, 1993 - Stratford ... have been reading through the poetry of 15th century Spain, and I find myself drawn to one by the mystic writer and visionary St. John of the Cross; the untitled work is an exquisite, richly metaphoric love poem between himself and his god. It could pass as a love poem between any two at any time ... His approach seems more akin to early Islamic or Judaic works in its more direct route to communication to his god ... I have gone over three different translations of the poem, and am struck by how much a translation can alter our interpretation. Am reminded that most holy scriptures come to us in translation, resulting in a diversity of views.As Loreena writes, there can be several different translations of a poem, depending on how the translator interprets the poem and what his/her intention for the translation is. And as Loreena says, the translation guides our interpretation, if we do not know (can not read) the original.
|Original Spanish Poem||Translation|
San Juan de la Cruz|
En una noche oscura
En una noche oscura,
a escuras y segura
en la noche dichosa,
Aquesta me guiaba
¡Oh noche que guiaste!
En mi pecho florido,
El aire del almena,
Quedéme y olvidéme,
St. John of the Cross |
On a dark night
On a dark night,
In darkness and secure,
In the happy night,
This light guided me
Oh, night that guided me,
Upon my flowery breast,
The breeze blew from the turret
I remained, lost in oblivion;
This translation is quite close to the Spanish original, Irina writes,
except for a few things:
= Stanza 1, line 2: "With longing, and burning love"
= Stanza 6, line 4: "And I gave him gifts"
= Stanza 7, line 2: "As is parted his hair"
Note that Loreena chose the fifth stanza as the chorus of her song.
<=== The dark night of the soul song page
<=== The mask and mirror CD page
<=== The Loreena McKennitt main page / CD index / lyrics index
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