37 Psaltery & Lyre: Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, “There Will Be Poetry,” translated by Charles Patterson

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There Will Be Poetry

Don’t say, its treasures used up
and short on themes, the lyre has gone silent.
The world could run out of poets, but always
            there will be poetry.

As long as burning waves throb
            at light’s kiss;
as long as the sun dresses the tattered clouds
            in fire and gold;

as long as the breeze carries perfumes and harmonies
            in its lap;
as long as there is spring in the world,
            there will be poetry!

As long as science fails to discover
            the sources of life,
and in the sea or the sky there is an abyss
            that resists calculation;

as long as humanity, always advancing,
            doesn’t know where it walks;
as long as there is a mystery for mankind,
            there will be poetry!

As long as we laugh without laughter
           escaping our lips;
as long as we cry without tears
           clouding our eyes;

as long as the heart and the head
            keep battling;
as long as there are hopes, memories,
            there will be poetry!

As long as there are eyes that reflect the eyes that
            contemplate them;
as long as there are sighing lips that respond to lips that
            sigh for them;

as long as two souls intermingle
            in a kiss;
as long as there is a beautiful woman,
            there will be poetry!




Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870) lived and died in relative obscurity, but has come to be known as one of Spain’s greatest poets.


Charles Patterson lives in absolute obscurity and loves to read Spain’s greatest poets.


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