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by Tejji

domingo, 29 de julio de 2018

In praise of the simple life

by José María Pemán, Spanish poet (1897 - 1981)

Translated from the Spanish by Roberto Hope (revised August 16,2018)

Agitated life, mad frenzy
of unfettered ambition ...
how wrong does life appreciate
he who understands it this way!

This life is an icy wind
which goes on withering flowers;
don't water it with your sweats
nor till it with agitation;

this, life does not deserve:
since such a boundless ambition
is a plant which fails to blossom
in the gardens of our being.

Foolish he who strives and labors
arduously craving a fortune:
earn today´s bread... and let God
take care of what comes tomorrow!

Oh life simple and serene,
I want to hold tight to you,
since you are the only seed
which makes flowers blossom here.

A quiet and healthy conscience
is the treasure that I yearn for;
nothing do I expect or ask for
to get me through past tomorrow.

and so, if that day gives me something
even if little, perhaps,
it'll always seem to be more
than what I could have asked for.

I do not aspire to glory
nor senseless ambition moves me:
at the dawn of every morning,
the only things I ask God for:

are, a clean house where to lodge,
some fresh bread, to have to eat,
a good book, to have to read
and a Crucifix to pray;

he who exerts himself and worries,
nothing finds that can satiate him,
but the one who less requires
has more than he who has plenty.

Want to enjoy as much as I can
and, with wisdom and restraint,
nickel by nickel to spend
that treasure which is my life;

but I don't want ever to be
as he who amasses gold
but enjoys his treasure not
for the sake of hoarding more.

I want to enjoy without passion,
to await with no distress,
and suffer with resignation,
pass away in peacefulness,

and when my last day should come
I want to reflect and say:
"I lived as I would have lived
if I were to live again;

I lived as a pilgrim does
who, disregarding his pains,
goes by, picking up the flowers
that he can find in his way;

singing, I have left behind
the life that I have traversed;
asked for not much but got more
than the little I asked for;

if nobody envied me
in the mad and frenzied world,
in that world neither did I
envy anyone at all."

Honors, I do not pursue,
since life is a heartless tyrant
which bestows with honors now
him who dishonors tomorrow.

I don't want honors in titles,
live nurturing no ambitions
as this honor is one which
cannot be removed from me.

I have resolved to reject
all unfettered ambition,
and not to demand from life
what it cannot give to me.

I have resolved not to run
after possessions not sating:
I carry in my soul a treasure
I cannot afford to lose

and keep it, since I expect
that confident I shall die 
in carrying it unbroken
to the Lord, who gave it me.

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