Two Poems By Salvador Espriu
Translated by Andrew Kaufman
and Antonio Cortijo Ocaña

Díptics de difunts

Han vingut al capvespre
fines boires que deixen
més tendra, molt rentada,
la nova primavera.
Sóc en un temps lentíssim,
potser parat, i sento
com se m’allunyen passos,
llum, record, impalpable
ombra de vells somriures.
Quan les flors es descloguin,
quan em mira la fràgil
plenitud de la rosa,
en pau, a les tranquil·les
estances dels meus somnis,
m’acollirà la vostra
pietat, i en silenci
acabaré de viure.

Diptychs of the Dead

At dusk fine mists
have come that leave
the new spring
more tender, more cleansed.
Time is moving very slowly,
perhaps stopped, and I feel
how footsteps, light, memory, the impalpable
shadow of old smiles
escape from me.
When the flowers open,
when the fragile
plenitude of the rose will look at me,
in peace, in the tranquil
rooms of my dreams,
your mercy will welcome me
and in silence
I will finish living.

Després dels arbres

Quan ja no pugui perdre’m
més en la neu i vegi
llums i cel de sortida
damunt l’esglai dels boscos,
sentiré la fatiga
del caminant pel somni
de la font i la casa,
benigna olor de terra
i pa llescat a taula.
Aleshores, ben lliure
d’espera i de temença
m’adormiré per sempre,
escoltant cops d’aixades
molt lentes als camps amples,
remor de vespre als pàmpols.

— Salvador Espriu

After the Trees

When I can no longer lose myself
in the snow and I see
the lights and sky go out
above the frightening woods,
I will feel the fatigue
of a traveler walking
in a dream of spring
and the house, 
the benign scent of earth
and sliced bread on the table.
Then fully free
of hope and fear,
I will fall asleep forever,
listening to the sound
of very slow hoes
in the wide fields,
the murmur of evening in the vine leaves. 

— Translated from the Catalan by Andrew Kaufman and Antonio Cortijo Ocaña

Andrew Kaufman’s most recently completed book, The Rwanda Poems, was recently published by New York Quarterly Books. His previous books include The Cinnamon Bay Sonnets, winner of the Center for Book Arts Award, Earth’s Ends, winner of the Pearl Poetry Award, and Both Sides of the Niger. He is an NEA recipient. His essays and poetry have appeared in previous editions of Today’s American Catholic, along with previous translations of Salvador Espriu’s poems with Antonio Cortijo Ocaña. View more of Andrew’s work at his website, and reach him via email at

Antonio Cortijo Ocaña is a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of California–Santa Barbara, where he is the founding director of the Center for Catalan Studies and the founding editor of the journal eHumanista. A native Catalan speaker, he has written, edited, or translated more than 50 books devoted to Catalan, Spanish, and Latin American literature, religion, and culture, including six volumes of translations. The latter include his translation of Ramon Llull´s A Contemporary Life (Vita coaetanea) from Latin into Spanish and English, for which he received the 2017 Francesco Saverio Nitti award. He received the 2001 Diputación de Sevilla award for his Theory of History and Political Theory in 16th-Century Spain, and was a co-recipient of the 2011 Scripta Humanistica award for his Catalan Humanism.

Image: Detail from The Flowering Orchard, Vincent van Gogh, 1888. The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Public Domain

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