A Mercedes Matamoros, by Aurelia Castillo

Poem by Aurelia Castillo de González, 1842-1920, Cuba. English translation by Liz Henry.

A Mercedes Matamoros

Cuentan que en el valle un día
cierta alondra se quejaba
porque una nota ensayaba
y emitirla no podía.
–¿Habrá otra, entre sí decía,
más desgraciada que yo?–
– Y el lamento que exhaló
fue de acordes tan divinos
que apagó todos los trinos,
y por reina allí quedó.

To Mercedes Matamoros

They say that one day in the valley
a certain lark complained
because she had learned a tune
and couldn’t sing it.
“Could there be another, tell me true,
as unfortunate as I?”
And the lament that she sang
was so divinely harmonious
that all songs stopped
and made her their queen.

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