Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

José Asunción Silva

THE WOODSMEN OF SAN JUAN

    Until sunset!
    From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone!
    Those from Roque,
    Feeling rocky,
    Those from Rique,
    Feeling tricky,
    Those from Trique,
    Sawing on!

    Straddling his grandmother’s firm knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear for the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

    See the woodsmen of San Juan,
    They want bread before it’s gone.
    Sss-sss-sawing,
    Sawing on!

Those deep furrows tell the story
Of long suffering and unvoiced sorrows,
On her head time has left its snow,
On her brow, pain few have known;
Her eyes, clouded by the years,
Are turbid mirrors that oft retain
Images from lives forever gone.

    Those from Roque, feeling rocky,
    Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Tomorrow, when the beloved grandmother
Sleeps deep beneath the earth, where others,
Too, dwell in the dark shadows
Of memory, sweetly will come,
Across eternity, in somber cadences,
Sad poems of childhood remembrances:
Her voice singing the old song!

    Those from Rique, feeling tricky,
    Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Then, astride his grandmother’s weary knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear of the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

    Until sunset!
    From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone,
    Those from Roque,
    Feeling rocky,
    Those from Rique,
    Feeling tricky.
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

LOS MADEROS DE SAN JUAN

LOS MADEROS DE SAN JUAN

    ¡Aserrín!
    ¡Aserrán!
Los maderos de San Juan,
Piden queso, piden pan,
    Los de Roque
    Alfandoque,
    Los de Rique
    Alfeñique
    ¡Los de triqui,
    triqui, tran!

    Y en las rodillas duras y firmes de la Abuela,
Con movimiento rítmico se balancea el niño
Y ambos agitados y trémulos están;
La Abuela se sonríe con maternal cariño
Mas cruza por su espíritu como un temor extraño
Por lo que en lo futuro, de angustia y desengaño
Los días ignorados del nieto guardarán.

    Los maderos de San Juan
    Piden queso, piden pan.
    ¡Triqui, triqui,
    triqui, tran!

Esas arrugas hondas recuerdan una historia
De sufrimientos largos y silenciosa angustia
Y sus cabellos, blancos, como la nieve, están.
De un gran dolor el sello marcó la frente mustia
Y son sus ojos turbios espejos que empañaron
Los años, y que, ha tiempos, las formas reflejaron
De cosas y seres que nunca volverán.

    Los de Roque, alfandoque
    ¡Triqui, triqui, triqui, tran!

Mañana cuando duerma la Anciana, yerta y muda,
Lejos del mundo vivo, bajo la oscura tierra,
Donde otros, en la sombra, desde hace tiempo están,
Del nieto a la memoria, con grave son que encierra
Todo el poema triste de la remota infancia,
Cruzando por las sombras del tiempo y la distancia,
¡De aquella voz querida las notas vibrarán!

    Los de Rique, alfeñique
    ¡Triqui, triqui, triqui, tran!

Y en tanto en las rodillas cansadas de la Abuela
Con movimiento rítmico se balancea el niño
Y ambos conmovidos y trémulos están;
La Abuela se sonríe con maternal cariño
Mas cruza por su espíritu como un temor extraño
Por lo que en lo futuro, de angustia y desengaño
Los días ignorados del nieto guardarán.

    ¡Aserrín!
    ¡Aserrán!
Los maderos de San Juan
Piden queso, piden pan,
    Los de Roque
    Alfandoque
    Los de Rique
    Alfeñique
¡Triqui, triqui, triqui, tran!
¡Triqui, triqui, triqui, tran!
Close

THE WOODSMEN OF SAN JUAN

    Until sunset!
    From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone!
    Those from Roque,
    Feeling rocky,
    Those from Rique,
    Feeling tricky,
    Those from Trique,
    Sawing on!

    Straddling his grandmother’s firm knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear for the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

    See the woodsmen of San Juan,
    They want bread before it’s gone.
    Sss-sss-sawing,
    Sawing on!

Those deep furrows tell the story
Of long suffering and unvoiced sorrows,
On her head time has left its snow,
On her brow, pain few have known;
Her eyes, clouded by the years,
Are turbid mirrors that oft retain
Images from lives forever gone.

    Those from Roque, feeling rocky,
    Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Tomorrow, when the beloved grandmother
Sleeps deep beneath the earth, where others,
Too, dwell in the dark shadows
Of memory, sweetly will come,
Across eternity, in somber cadences,
Sad poems of childhood remembrances:
Her voice singing the old song!

    Those from Rique, feeling tricky,
    Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Then, astride his grandmother’s weary knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear of the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

    Until sunset!
    From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone,
    Those from Roque,
    Feeling rocky,
    Those from Rique,
    Feeling tricky.
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

THE WOODSMEN OF SAN JUAN

    Until sunset!
    From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone!
    Those from Roque,
    Feeling rocky,
    Those from Rique,
    Feeling tricky,
    Those from Trique,
    Sawing on!

    Straddling his grandmother’s firm knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear for the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

    See the woodsmen of San Juan,
    They want bread before it’s gone.
    Sss-sss-sawing,
    Sawing on!

Those deep furrows tell the story
Of long suffering and unvoiced sorrows,
On her head time has left its snow,
On her brow, pain few have known;
Her eyes, clouded by the years,
Are turbid mirrors that oft retain
Images from lives forever gone.

    Those from Roque, feeling rocky,
    Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Tomorrow, when the beloved grandmother
Sleeps deep beneath the earth, where others,
Too, dwell in the dark shadows
Of memory, sweetly will come,
Across eternity, in somber cadences,
Sad poems of childhood remembrances:
Her voice singing the old song!

    Those from Rique, feeling tricky,
    Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!

Then, astride his grandmother’s weary knees,
Jogging rhythmically, the boy rides horsey
Till both tremble, filled with exaltation;
The granny smiles with motherly affection,
But then a premonition flashes through
Her mind: fear of the grief and anguish
The coming days hold for her grandson.

    Until sunset!
    From the dawn!
See the woodsmen of San Juan,
They want bread before it’s gone,
    Those from Roque,
    Feeling rocky,
    Those from Rique,
    Feeling tricky.
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!
Sss-sss-sawing, sawing on!
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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