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To Barcelona

Jacint Verdaguer

When I gaze on you there by the skirts of Montjuic, I seem to see you in the arms of the giant Alcides, who, to protect the daughter born from his own side, became a mountain and stayed here.
And watching you for ever winning rock from his heart for your houses, that grow like trees in good ground, it’s as though you were saying to the waves and the sky and the mountains: Look on her now, bone of my bones - and grown as great as I!
Lest your ships break in the dark, homing on wings like swallows toward Cap-del Riu, he raises in his right hand a beacon every evening, walking into the sea to guide them back.
The sea sleeps at your feet, and kissing them like a slavegirl, hears you telling her their Code of Laws; and if you say, Go back! she gives way to your walls, as if Marquets and Llanzes were still her kings.
An Amazon from birth, you took a wall for crown, but soon, in growing, burst the narrow bond; three times you bound yourself within it, three times you broke it - leaping, like a lion, over the confining stone.
Why bind your arms in this belt of towers? A child’s girdle is not right for a grown woman; better to pull down and efface them. You wish for Cyclopean walls? God gave them to you, and greater.
God gave you a line of mountain-peaks for crown, sea-giants at the foothills; they stand secure, hand in rugged hand-forming, at your back, a second Pyrenees.
Nou-pins holds hands with Montalegre; Olorde with Finestrelles; with Collcerola, Carmel and Guinardons; the river-beds following this wall are as the gateways; and for turrets you have Garraf, Sant Pere Martir and Montgat.
High Tibidabo, and oak-tree commanding its offspring, is the proud acropolis that keeps watch over the city; Moncada's a giant lance of sharp iron, nailed there by a race of heroes.
Let those be the eternal frontiers of your expansion; of the fragments of ruined walls make a present to the sea, as the wide-stretched arms of a measureless harbour held captive in its groves of ships.
Like you the farmsteads all around eat up the fields and fences, and become towns; and the country-places turn cities; like small girls running to their mother at the double; where but to the sea may rivers bear their waters?
And you keep on growing and spreading; if level land be lacking, you thread the hills, curving in accord to their slant; wave on wave, you drive on upward, as to all the surrounding slopes your suburbs cling.
Today, a giantess, you stretch your arms out to the mountains, and when you get there, tomorrow, what, then, will you do? You'll act like a vast ivy that, earth covered, the climbs to clasp ineach arm a woodland tree.
You see, extending westward, a field as of emeralds? A second Nile has formed it from its golden sands; and there could spread out - if the skirts of Montjuic restrict you - both your tents and your heart.
Those green flowering banks turned gold by the sun, Sant Just Desvern in the shade of orange-trees and pines, and in Valldoreig the woods of Hebron and Valldaura - are weaving you a crown of gardens for time to come. [...]

Verdaguer, Jacint. Oda a Barcelona. [Editada amb motiu del III Congrés Internacional de Bibliofilia]. Barcelona: Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1963, pp.8-10.


Traduït per Pearse Hutchinson
Pearse Hutchinson
Fragments
A hora foscant - Josep Carner
Angoixa de l’alta nit - Josep Carner
Assaig de càntic en el temple - Salvador Espriu
Cor fidel - Josep Carner
Joc - Pere Quart
Mans - Àlex Susanna
Nadal - Joan Salvat-Papasseit
Oda a Barcelona - Jacint Verdaguer
Ostende, 31 desembre 1949 - Josep Carner
Per a tots nosaltres - Miquel Martí i Pol
Retorn a Catalunya - Josep Carner
Sol - Josep Palau i Fabre
Temps nou - Miquel Martí i Pol
Vacances pagades - Pere Quart
Vistes al mar - Joan Maragall
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