Comparative Translations

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Comparative Translations
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
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.
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