Words for Julia

You can’t go back
because life is pushing you ahead
like an unending howl.

You’ll feel caged,
you’ll feel lost and alone,
perhaps wishing you’d never been born.

But always remember
what I wrote one day
thinking of you as I’m thinking of you now.

Life is beautiful, you’ll see,
despite its sorrow,
you will have love, you will have friends.

A man, a woman alone,
one without the other,
are dust, are nothing.

Therefore you should always remember
what I wrote one day
thinking of you as I’m thinking of you now.

Never give in, never stray,
never say by the side of the road
I can’t go on, I’ll stay.

Life is beautiful, you’ll see,
despite its sorrow,
you will have love, you will have friends.

And always, always remember
what I wrote one day
thinking of you as I’m thinking of you now.

– José Agustín Goytisolo

(translated by Johannes Beilharz)

Translator’s notes
This translation of the poem is based on the version sung by Paco Ibáñez – please watch the Youtube video below.  The original contains some more stanzas, but I feel that Ibáñez’s shortened version is actually much more powerful.
The poem was written by José Agustín Goytisolo (1928-1999) for his daughter Julia, named after his mother, who was killed in a bombing during the Spanish civil war in 1938.

Posted for shackles at One Single Impression.

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About James Steerforth

I am an author of poetry and fiction, translator and painter who loves to have fun with borrowed feathers.
This entry was posted in Life, Literature, Love, Lyrics, Music, Poetry, Translation, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Words for Julia

  1. Cassiopeia Rises says:

    Sorry my friend. but life is full of sorrow. Beautiful poem.

    Melanie

  2. jinksy says:

    I can’t listen to your music, as my computer has no sound at the moment! But the words are music of another kind…

  3. Tilly Bud says:

    This is gorgeous. I’ve never heard of the poet.

  4. 1sojournal says:

    Such longing and tenderness. Thank you sharing this poet’s words and the music,

    Elizabeth

  5. David King says:

    That’s probably the most optimistic poem ever posted on the web… well, best I’ve read in a while.

  6. I try to read bilingual editions (only Spanish and English, I’m afraid, never learned another language) as much as possible. This is a lovely translation, especially the repeated line, “Thinking of you as I’m thinking of you now.” Thanks for the poem and the song!
    Amy Barlow Liberatore
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/road-asides/

  7. pompeii says:

    this is the only song/poem that makes my dad cry, he used to play this song to me, coz he said it remainded him of me. this song means a lo to me, it gives me strengh when I need it and it reminds me of my dad. thanks goytisolo for such a wonderful poem, and thanks paco for such a lovely song

  8. Very beautiful music…though I don’t understand the words, his emotions and music are lovely ~

    My share: http://a-sweetlust.blogspot.ca/2012/03/broken-heart.html

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