Comparative Translations of the first stanza of “Versos Sensillos” by José Martí Translations by James Edgar “Poetry is what’s lost in translation.”—Robert Frost Untranslated: Yo soy un hombre sincero De donde crece la palma, Y antes de morirme quiero Echar mis versos del alma. (Overly) literal translation: I am a man sincere From where grows the palm, And before to die me I want To throw my verses from the soul. (Loose) paraphrase: I’m an honest guy From palm tree country, And before I kick it, I wanna say something soulful. Poetic translation: I come from where the palm tree grows, And anyone who knows me knows That I’m a true, sincere and honest man. Before my death my desire is if I can To write some verses straight from heart and soul, So both the man and poet can be whole.