Monday 17 August 2015

Te quiero, by Mario Benedetti

My cousin Simon asked me to read a poem at his wedding in August 2015 in Barrow Gurney. I read Te quiero, by Mario Benedetti. Lots of people asked to read the text, so here it is.

I LOVE YOU, by Mario Benedetti.

Your hands are my tender caress, my daily reminders.
I love you because your hands work for justice.

If I love you it's because you are my love, my accomplice and my everything.
And in the street, hand in hand, we are many more than two.

Your eyes are my magic that saves a terrible day.
I love you for your gaze that plans and plants the future.

I love you for your mouth that is yours and mine, your mouth that does not lie.
I love you because your mouth knows how to shout rebellion.

If I love you it's because you are my love, my accomplice and my everything.
And in the street, arm in arm, we are many more than two.

And I love you for your open face
and your rambler's footstep
and your passion for the world
and because you are one of us
I love you.

And because love is not a halo
nor a morality tale
and because we are a couple
that knows it is not alone.

I love you in our paradise
here, in our countries
where people can live happily
with or without permission.

So, if I love you it's because you are my accomplice and my everything.
And in the street, hand in hand, we are many more than two.


Note on the translation: When Simon asked me to read 'something Latin American' at his wedding to John, I knew straight away that I wanted to read something by Mario Benedetti. I took his collected poems 'El amr ...' off my shelf, and they fell open at Te Quiero. The poem's blend of attitude and sentimentality is perfect for the happy couple. I looked for an English translation but couldn't find one I liked. I used some sections of Nina Serrano's translation, which you can read here, and did bespoke translations of the rest which felt relatively esy because I had the two people I was translating for directly in mind. It was an honour and a pleasure.


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