Basque Poetry in English - Part 5 - If For Telling the Truth...



This post is sourced from www.basquepoetry.net

Gabriel Aresti, (1933-1975) born into a nationalist non-Basque-speaking family in Bilbao. At fourteen he began to study Basque on his own, reading the classics in the City Library and listening to popular verse improvisers. His poetry evolved from the symbolism of his youth to the social criticism of his later years. He exerted an enormous influence of the youth of the 60s and 70s. His work Harri eta Herri (Stone and Country, 1964) is the foundational book of Basque modern civil poetry. He was critical, indulged in controversy and broke the myth of the «Basque believer». He openly stated his left-wing ideas, and also contributed to the updating of song-singing and drama... His death, which coincided with the end of the Franco regime, closed a period of Basque literature.

Egia bat esateagatik,
alabak
hil behar bazaizkit,
andrea
bortxatu behar badidate,
etxea
lurrarekin
berdindu behar bazait;
Egia bat esateagatik,
ebaki behar badidate
nik eskribitzen
dudan
eskua,
nik kantatzen
dudan
mihina;
Egia bat esateagatik,
nire izena
kenduko badute
euskal literaturaren
urrezko
orrietatik,
inoiz,
inola,
inun
eznaiz
isilduko.

--------

If for telling the truth
they must kill
my daughters,
rape my wife,
pull down
the house
where I live;
if for telling the truth
they must cut
off the hand
I write with,
the tongue
I sing with;
if for telling the truth
they must rub
out my name
from the golden pages
of Basque literature,
never in any way
nor in any place
will they be able
to make me shut up.

Translation by Toni Strubell sourced from wwww.basquepoetry.net

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