The Offering (La Ofrenda)

NOTE: I am not a native speaker of Spanish…only an eager student trying to teach myself the language. Really, I just try my best to translate and hope that it comes across well in both languages. Please feel free to offer suggestions that may improve my vocabulary. Thanks!

THE OFFERING

She stands alone on the corner

with eyes full of hope

as the people hurry past,

some strangers, some not,

all in a hurry to be somewhere else.

She offers each

a single daisy

a simple white smile of yellow sunshine

grown in her very own garden.

Some take one, and shove it into

a coat pocket

where it will never see the light.

Some drop it on the cold, hard ground

or crush it beneath their heels.

Still others turn their eyes away and do not see

the flowers at all.

But still she stands there, bouquet in hand

until the wind at last carries away

every last petal.

Then she shoves her empty hands into her pockets and

walks away, with eyes like mist

and her heart a bare garden

and she does not see the man

who stands alone on the next corner

with eyes full of hope

offering daisies to the world

LA OFRENDA

Ella está sola en la esquina

con los ojos llenos de esperanza

mientras la gente pasan,

algunos desconocidos, otros no

todos se dan prisa por estar en otro lugar.

Ella ofrece a todos una sola margarita

una simple sonrisa blanca del sol amarillo

cultivado en su propio jardín.

Algunos toman una, y la meten en

el bosillo del abrigo

donde nunca verá la luz.

Algunos la dejan caer al suelo duro y frío

o aplastarla bajo sus talones.

Aún otros desvian la mirada y no ven

las flores en absoluto.

Pero todavia ella está alli, el ramo en la mano

hasta que el viento por fin se lleva

cada pétalo que queda.

Entonces se mete sus manos vacios

en sus bosillos

y se va, con ojos como neblina

y el corazón un jardín desnudo.

Por eso, no ve el hombre

que está en la esquina siguiente

con ojos llenos de esperanza

ofreciendo margaritas al mundo.

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8 responses to “The Offering (La Ofrenda)

  1. I think you’re doing a good job with your Spanish. I lived in Cascais, Portugal for 5 years in the ’70s without lessons and I got pretty good by the time I left. Portuguese became an obsession: I set my cellphone to display in Portuguese, my watch is in Spanish and I often post on FB in Portuguese. Every time I took one of those language proficiency tests on the web I always managed only an intermediate. Que rabia! There were no Portuguese classes to be had easily so I went to the local college and took a semester of grammar and one of literature. This was helpful be cause Spanish and Portuguese are kissing cousins and in then I got the Portuguese text they use at Dartmouth. It worked out well, the two semesters of Spanish allowed me to more easily improve my Portuguese. As Spanish is spoken so widely, Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, Angola, Moçambique, and a bunch of others.
    Let me suggest you read a play by Federico Garcia Lorca, “Yerma,” it is very interesting. Cheers.

    • Thank you, Carlos! Te agradezco por la sugerencia. What a wonderful opportunity you had, to live in another country, completely immersed in a new language and culture. So often, I wish that I could rewind time and do something so daring. I barely even studied Spanish in university. Instead, I opted for a proficiency exam and only took one semester of advanced Spanish, although I understood so little. Now I am really trying to immerse myself, using literature, television programs, films, music…anything I can find in Spanish. I would love to read the play, Yerma, and have just added it to my list of “must-reads.” Portuguese is another lovely language. After I finally achieve fluency in Spanish, maybe I will try it next. 🙂

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