Basque Poetry in English - Part 2 - Izarren Hautsa

Xabier Lete is undoubtedly one of the great poets of the Basque Country. He was one of the first to start writing in Basque when Franco was still around and the Basque language was highly suppressed. He was most prolific in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. After many years of not writing poetry he has recently published a highly praised new book. The following poem is entitled "Izarren Hautsa", which literate translates as "Stardust" and it was published in second book of poems published in 1974.


Mikel Laboa, a famous, and recently deceased, singer wrote a beautiful song based on this poem and I have included a video of Mikel Laboa singing the song at the bottom of this post, which is one of my all time favourite songs. If I was castaway and my iPod only had one song it would have to be this one.


Izarren Hautsa

Izarren hautsa egun batean bilakatu zen bizigai,
hauts hartatikan uste gabean noizpait ginaden gu ernai.
Eta horrela bizitzen gera sortuz ta sortuz gure aukera
atsedenik hartu gabe: lana eginaz goaz aurrera
kate horretan denok batera gogorki loturik gaude.

Gizonak ba du inguru latz bat menperatzeko premia,
burruka hortan bizi da eta hori du bere egia.
Ekin ta ekin bilatzen ditu, saiatze hortan ezin gelditu,
jakintza eta argia; bide ilunak nekez aurkitu
lege berriak noizpait erditu, hortan jokatuz bizia.

Gizonen lana jakintza dugu: ezagutuz aldatzea,
naturarekin bat izan eta harremanentan sartzea.
Eta indarrak ongi errotuz, gure sustraiak lurrari lotuz,
bertatikan irautea: ezaren gudaz baietza sortuz,
ukazioa legetzat hartuz beti aurrera joatea.

Ez dadukanak ongi ahi daki euketzea zein den ona,
bere premiak bete nahirik beti bizi da gizona.
Gu ere zerbait ba gera eta gauden tokitik hemendik bertan
saia gaitezen ikusten: amets eroak bazterturikan,
sasi ziki√Ľak behingoz erreta bide on bat aukeratzen.

Gu sortu ginen enbor beretik sortuko dira besteak,
burruka hortan iraungo duten zuhaitz-ardaska gazteak.
Beren aukeren jabe eraikiz ta erortzean berriro jaikiz
ibiltzen joanen direnak : gertakizunen indar ta argiz
gure ametsa arrazoi garbiz egiztatuko dutenak.

Eta ametsa bilakaturik egiaren antziduri
herri zahar batek bide berritik ekingo dio urduri;
guztian lana guztien esku jasoko dute sendo ta prestu,
beren bizitzen edargai; diru zakarrak bihotzik eztu,
lotuko dute gogor ta hestu haz ez dadin gizonen gain.


Stardust

Across time stardust became life matter
and it was dictated that from matter we sprung
and so we make our choices again and again
without pause: we work to move forward
all of us bound to earth by a chain.

Man is compelled to reign over his kingdom
that battle is his life and truth
and he perseveres, cannot stop the motion
of law and light: the never ending search for ways,
the painful delivery of a code that costs lives.

Man's duty is to knowledge, to learn and change,
to be one with nature and establish relationships,
and remain: to win the war on no with a yes,
because no is what we have, so we go on.

The trunk we shoot off from will give life to others,
the young branches that negate death
will build further and, should they fall, raise again
and walk further; with the light and evidence of facts
they will validate our dreams forever.

And as the dream is legitimised into truth
an old country will hesitate down a new road;
all will be ready and eager to take what was built by all,
to complete our lives: but dirty money has no heart
we shall rein it in so that it won't grow taller than man.

This poem was turned to song by two artists, the poet himself and Mikel Laboa. I like both versions, but I find that Mikel Laboa's version is far superior to Xabier Lete's musically. See the two of them below...





Comments

  1. I'd like to repost this, but need the original Basque and, of course, your permission! Please email daamnillan@gmail.com

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