To Jose Maria Palacio


Palacio, good friend,
is spring
already dressing branches of the black poplars
by the river and the roads? On the steppe
by the deep Duero, spring is late,
yet so lovely and soft when it comes!
Do the old elms have
a few new leaves?
The acacias must still be bare
and the sierra mountains white with snow.
O white and pink mass of Moncayo,
there, so handsome in the Aragon sky!
Are brambles in flower
among the gray rocks,
and white daisies
in the slender grass?
In those belfries
the storks must be arriving.
The green wheatfields
and brown mules in the seeded furrows,
and with April rains the farmers
who plant the late lands. Now bees
are sipping rosemary and thyme.
Are the plums in bloom? Violets left?
Furtive hunters with partridge
decoys under their long capes
cannot be missing. Palacio, good friend,
are nightingales already on the riverbanks?
With the first lilies
and first roses in the orchards,
on a blue afternoon, climb to the cemetery
of Espino, high Espino, where she is in her earth.


                        Spanish; trans. Angel Flores


Antonio Machado, Spanish, trans. Angel Flores, Eighty Poems, Las Americas Publishing, 1959.