EL CID’S SWORD STRIKES TO RIGHT

by Jüri Talvet

El Cid's sword strikes to right
and left at the heads of Moors
and Christians, wins bread for the daughters
of Campeador, who now, at the start
of the 21st century, cower between
Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía, lean dark
small Elviras and Sols catch in the net
of their dark glances Christians and Moors –
men – on the right and the left, shivering
as they earn their bread in Europe’s midwinter:
Oh father, oh father, why did you leave us!

(Trans. H. L. Hix)

From: 
Isegi vihmal on hing (Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus, 2010)


Jüri Talvet's picture

ABOUT THE POET ~
Poet, essayist, translator and university professor Jüri Talvet was born in Pärnu, Estonia, in 1945. He graduated from the faculty of philology from the University of Tartu. He received his PhD degree in Western literatures from Leningrad / Saint Petersburg University (1981). Since 1992 he is Chairing Professor (of world literature) at Tartu University. He made his debut with a book of poems, Äratused (Awakenings, Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981). Besides eight books of poetry, he has published six essay books in his native Estonian, as well as numerous translations (mainly from Spanish). In 2008 he edited a major anthology of American poetry in Estonian translation. He has been awarded Juhan Smuul Annual Prize of Literature (in essay, 1986), Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize (1997) and Ivar Ivask Memorial Prize of Essay and Poetry (2002). Selections of his poetry have appeared in translation in Spain (Elegía estonia y otros poemas, 2002; Del sueño, de la nieve, 2010), Canada (Estonian Elegy. Selected Poems, 2008; Of Snow, of Soul, 2010), France (De la neige, des rêves, 2011) and Romania (De din somn, de din zăpadă, 2011). Also, his essays have been translated into English, Spanish and Catalan.


Last updated September 19, 2011